The Rare Book Collection includes more than 25,000 rare, scarce and unique books dating from 1493 to the present. Cataloging records can be accessed on STARS, the University Libraries’ online catalog. Subject areas include 16th and 17th century history and literature, Long Island and New York history, classics in Latin, Irish literature, the Perishable Press Limited, Black Mountain Poetry, natural sciences, and book and printing history. The oldest book in the collection is The Nuremberg Chronicle, a pictorial history of the earth published in 1493 that was compiled by Dr. Hartmann Schedel, illustrated and engraved by Michael Wohlgemuth, Wilhelm Pleydenwurff and Albrecht Dürer, and printed and published by Anton Koberger.
The study and appreciation of the book arts can be ascertained by consulting the archives of the renowned book artist Walter Hamad, founder of Perishable Press Limited, the sketches of Italian American illustrator Valenti Angelo, and the department’s extensive Literary Broadsides Collection, which contains original works by Conrad Aiken, Paul Blackburn, Charles Bukowski, Robert Bly, and Allen Ginsberg.
In 2002, Queens College professor and lifetime collector of Chinese cookbooks Jacqueline M. Newman donated her collection of more than 2,600 English-language Chinese cookbooks to Stony Brook University. The largest English-language Chinese cookbook collection in the world, the collection is a valuable record of the Chinese diaspora and provides researchers with the opportunity to conceptualize food history and its anthropologic, sociologic, cultural and historic values. The book collection can be searched in a database accessible through STARS (please click here).
Collecting focus: books that complement existing collections; first editions, scarce, and autographed books; books with brittle or comprised bindings and/or paper; and books that are transferred from the circulating collections for security purposes.