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Special Collections and Rare Books

This guide is an introduction to Special Collections at Iowa State University.

What are rare books?

What is a rare book with different examples of rare books

There are a number of reasons a book can be considered a rare book.

  • Scarcity
  • Age and Imprint
  • Importance
  • Association
  • Aesthetic or physical quality

SCUA currently possesses 55,000 rare volumes, focusing on agriculture, science, and technology. 

Collection Strengths

Main collection strengths:

  • Agriculture
  • Science
  • Technology

Secondary collecting areas:

  • Artist’s books
  • Costume dress, and fashion
  • Domestic science, home economics, and household management
  • Incunabula, or books printed before 1501
  • Iowa Cookbook Collection
  • Iowa and local history
  • Literature: includes the Margaret Young Science Fiction Collection, several Charles Dickens novels in original parts and first bound editions, works by Lafcadio Hearn, and G.A. Henty novels.
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Amy Bishop
she, her, hers
403 Parks Library