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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.
Profile Photo
Amy Bishop
Contact:
403 Parks Library
515-294-8807