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The Rare Book Collection at the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library is rich. The collection broadly supports the teaching and research of The University of Alabama in many ways. Besides individual researchers, the Rare Books Collection is used in bibliographic instruction to illustrate to students in many areas book history, and to gain a better sense of the link between the text and knowledge. Courses in European and American History (for example: Medieval, Age of Reason, French Revolution); Music and Musicology; English; and Art all visit the Hoole Library on a regular basis to make these important collections.
It includes incunabula, titles from seventeenth and eighteenth century France and Britain, and eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth century American works, including significant holdings documenting the Mississippi valley and travel and exploration in early America. Additionally, there are significant holdings relating to New Orleans and Louisiana. Our earliest imprint in the Rare Book Collection is a rubricated copy of the Missale Romanum, printed in Venice by Bernardinus Benalius, dated 1483.
Some specific areas within the collection include significant holdings in 18th and 19th century French literary and historical works, including Diderot's Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, published in France between 1751 and 1772.
The Hoole Library is also home to a sizable collection of Confederate Imprints and a number of nineteenth and early twentieth century works on the Civil War.
Named collections housed in the Hoole Library include the works of author and translator, Lafcadio Hearn and first editions of Sir Walter Scott, the poet Robinson Jeffers, and the library of 20th century poet and professor, George Starbuck.
Significant holdings of first editions by authors such as Mark Twain, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry James, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, and John A. Williams are part of the Rare Books Collection.
Our Book Arts Collection, comprised of examples of fine and experimental printing and binding, supports the MFA program in the Book Arts in the School of Library and Information Studies at The University of Alabama.
Our book holdings are accessible through the libraries' catalog. Setting search limits by location and date range will help facilitate searches for particular materials. If you need assistance of have questions, contact Jessica Lacher-Feldman, Curator for Rare Books and Special Collections.