An invaluable and unique component of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library at Phillips Academy is its extensive Special Collections. A small selection of the total collection is currently on view in the McLean Gallery.
Under the auspices of the Academy Archives, the Special Collections offer material of interest to literary scholars, historians, book collectors and students working across academic fields. With volumes dating back to the 16th century, the Academy’s Special Collections comprise more than 5,000 rare books, manuscripts, maps, and artwork. Included in these collections are examples of fore-edge painted books, a leaf of the Gutenberg Bible, Shakespeare’s 1st and 4th folios, incunabula, a first edition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, and the “Eliot Indian Bible,” the first complete Bible printed in the Western Hemisphere. Within the body of the general Special Collections, are a number of small individually named collections; brief descriptions of these collections, listed alphabetically, may be found below.
Faculty, students and researchers are encouraged to use these non-circulating collections for research onsite. Many of these items are currently discoverable in the Library’s online catalog. Please contact the Archives and we will gladly work with you to find materials for class projects, curriculum development, or personal research.
The Archives & Special Collections offices are located on the second floor of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library.