Rare Book Collection

Laughing Owl, Sceloglaux albifacies by John G. Keulemans, from Ornithological Miscellany, Vol. 1 by George Dawson Rowley, London,1875. (AMNH image no. 6253)

Laughing Owl, Sceloglaux albifacies by John G. Keulemans, from Ornithological Miscellany, Vol. 1 by George Dawson Rowley, London,1875. (AMNH image no. 6253)


The Library's Rare Book and Rare Folio Collection developed from a need to protect and preserve the Library's aging research materials. As the Library grew and more time passed, a sizable number of books could be designated as rare. This collection now includes over 14,000 volumes and continues to be an integral part of the Museum's research facilities, especially in the study of systematics. The Collection includes field diaries and scrapbooks; richly illustrated, fragile, or uniquely bound materials; limited and/or autographed editions; published and unpublished works with special Museum association; materials of high monetary value; and rare books relevant to natural history, especially in those fields of interest at the Museum.

Viewing Rare Materials

The Library's holdings of rare materials can be found in the Library Catalog by using an advanced keyword search and limiting by "Location: Rare Materials". 

Access to materials in the Rare Book Collection is by appointment only. To make an appointment to view rare material, please complete our Rare Book Collection Access Form. Please note that we require 24 hours notice for Rare Book and Rare Folio requests.