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Rare and Manuscript Collections

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Collection Highlights

Reflecting Cornell University’s motto (“I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.”), RMC serves as a center for original research and scholarship in a wide variety of disciplines. Deep collections of rare books, manuscripts, photographs, media and other documentation span topics reflecting human achievement within areas such as literature and art, the history of science, natural history and technology, the history of the book, photography and graphic design, the history of architecture, 19th and 20th century reform movements, African American history and culture, the history of gender and sexuality, food, wine and culinary history, contemporary music, postwar countercultural movements, along with the social, intellectual, and political history of Europe, the Americas, and Asia. RMC is also home to Cornell University’s archives. While collecting is selective in all areas, RMC continues to build upon its collection strengths and continually evaluates opportunities to develop new ones, with a focus on materials in all formats that serve student learning, faculty research, and fuel opportunities for exploration, creativity and scholarly discovery.

Although RMC contains material on an unlimited number of subjects, over the past 150 years deeper investments have been made in selected areas. Some highlights of collecting strengths are below. Catalog records for rare books, manuscripts, and archives on these and many other subjects can be found by searching the Cornell University Library Catalog. Archival guides for most archival and manuscript collections are also available online.