Rare Book Collections
The Wallace Library maintains ten special non-circulating book collections, most of which can be accessed through the library catalog. Below are brief descriptions of each of the collections.
- CHILDREN'S COLLECTION
This collection introduces readers to children's and juvenile literature of historical import or containing valuable illustrations. Eighteenth through twenty-first century titles, from The New England Primer to Kate Greenaway to adventure series are included. Because this collection is shelved outside the Archives and a number of its titles do not appear in the library catalog, those wishing to view the Children's Collection should contact the College Historian & Special Collections Curator in advance.
- COLE MEMORIAL COLLECTION
The personal library of the Reverend Samuel Valentine Cole, poet and President of Wheaton from 1897 to 1925, forms the nucleus of this endowed collection. English and American poetry and literature are the focus of the collection, which circulates only to faculty on special loan. This collection is shelved in The Cole Room, reserved for quiet study and use of the collection. All titles in the collection may be found in the library catalog.
- HISTORICAL COLLECTION ON WOMEN
Founded in 1929 by the Reverend J. Edgar Park, President of Wheaton from 1926 to 1944, the Historical Collection on Women contains titles from as early as the seventeenth century relating to women, their families, and all aspects of their education and employment. Special strengths are in books on etiquette, advice, cooking, and vocational training. Advice books for men and issues of gender are also represented. This endowed collection is thoroughly cataloged.
- SENIOR HONORS & GRADUATE THESES
Honors Theses represent the best of original research undertaken by undergraduate honors students in various disciplines. The first honors thesis was prepared in 1928, and each year approximately 15-30 titles are added to the collection. Wheaton has awarded several Master's degrees throughout the years. While not all honors theses were submitted for binding, particularly in the 1960s-1980s, most of the most recent theses are submitted in both paper and digital format, and may be found in Wheaton's Digital Repository, to which their catalog entries are linked.
- LARCOM COLLECTION
Lucy Larcom was an influential and beloved teacher of English composition at Wheaton from 1854 to 1862, and from 1865 to 1867. She established the student literary magazine, The Rushlight, which remains in publication. This collection, established in her memory by family members, contains books by and about Miss Larcom, and volumes from her personal library. In addition, letters, manuscript poems and lectures, copy books, diaries, artwork, furniture, photographs, memorabilia, and family papers have been generously donated by Larcom descendants to form an extensive manuscript collection.
- RESTRICTED or RARE BOOK COLLECTION
Rare, fragile, and valuable books, many with fine illustrations, as well as some association (autographed) volumes are collected here. Mass communication and the transmission of culture through printed media, from the Renaissance through the present, may be studied in this collection. Approximately one-third of the collection remains to be cataloged, so efficient use of the materials requires consultation with the College Historian & Special Collections Curator.
- WHEATON FEMALE SEMINARY LIBRARY
Books known to have been in the Seminary Library (1838-ca. 1912) were culled from circulation to create this collection. Many titles bearing the stamp "Wheaton Female Seminary Library" remain in the stacks, and continue to circulate! Because the collection is shelved outside the Archives, and is cataloged according to the Dewey Decimal system (and thus does not appear in the library catalog), those wishing to view the Seminary Library should contact the College Historian & Special Collections Curator in advance.
- WHEATON FEMALE SEMINARY TEXTBOOKS
Textbooks necessary for study at Wheaton Female Seminary were listed in the annual catalogues. This collection provides a small but representative sample of those required texts. Because this collection does not appear in the library catalog, its use requires consultation with the College Historian & Special Collections Curator.
- PAUL H. SMART COLLECTION
Paul H. Smart, a former member of the Library Visiting Committee and son of the late Wheaton Trustee and Acting President George T. Smart, established this collection in 1967, when he generously donated his collection of private press editions and fine bindings to the College. The collection's strengths include books produced by Doves Press, Groliers, Riverside Press, and Bruce Rogers. Currently, only artists' books are added to this collection.
- WHEATON AUTHORS COLLECTION
The Wheaton Authors Collection is comprised of the published work of faculty, administrators, and staff which were written, researched or published while they were employed at Wheaton, and of alumnae/i publications whenever they were produced. Titles appear in the library catalog, but because the collection is not housed in the Archives, please consult the College Historian & Special Collections Curator regarding its use. This collection does NOT circulate.