Special Collections and Archives collects, preserves, and makes accessible books, publications, ephemera, artifacts, photographs, audio-visual recordings, digital archival materials, business records, and other items that support the study and teaching of Reed students and faculty. Collection strengths are listed below; please see Gifts and Transfers for current collecting areas.
The Rare Book Collection contains scarce and irreplaceable titles gathered together over the years through gift, purchase, and from our own circulating collection. Prominent themes in the collection are British history, European enlightenment, antiquarian maps, architecture, illuminated manuscripts, religious works, and Chinese art. All rare books can be found in the library catalog.
The artists’ book collection holds significant works of 20th century and contemporary book arts. The spectrum of books in the collection include traditional letterpress printed books of poetry, conceptual book works, sculptural and visual works, and concrete poetry. All artists' books can be found in the library catalog, and a selection of these can be seen in the library’s digital collections.
Calligraphy and Letter Forms
Reed College has a rich history in calligraphy and letter forms. Special Collections and Archives houses the personal archives of individuals with significant contributions to calligraphy at Reed, including the Lloyd Reynolds Papers, the Maury Nemoy Papers, and the Frederick Reid Papers. Also prominant in the collection are examples of handwriting and letter forms throughout history. Collection guides (finding aids) can be found by searching the collection guides database.
Reed College Theses
Copies of theses are available in Special Collections and Archives (1915-present) in addition to the thesis tower in the Library (1960s-present, some theses before 1960s). All theses can be found in the library catalog, and a selection can be seen in the library’s Electronic Theses collection (accessible to Reed students, faculty, staff, and alumni).
Reed College Community History
The College Archives collects a variety of materials related to the college and college community. Examples include photographs, landscape and architectural plans, departmental records and syllabi, theatre programs and posters, student organization records, student and community senate minutes, and student publications. Collection guides (finding aids) are being created and added the collection guides database. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about content that does not yet have a guide. A selection of these works are available in the Reed College Archives digital collection.
Visit an exhibit, created for the Centennial celebration, about Reed's first century.
The College Archives contains publications produced by students and the college, including course catalogs, handbooks, magazines, Griffin Yearbooks, Quest newspapers, literary magazines, and other student publications. Publication titles can be found in the Reed College community publications collection guide.
Manuscripts and Organizational Records
Special Collections and Archives collects the archives of people, families, and organizations or groups where these historical records support the Reed curriculum. Examples include the correspondence of Beat poet Philip Whalen (Reed alum '51), the business records and documents of Reed founders Simeon and Amanda Reed, the 19th century reports of Army scout Edward Chambreau, and the letters of Lois Badger Van Auken (Reed alum'18). Collection guides (finding aids) can be found by searching the collection guides database.