Mission & History

The Rare Books and Special Collections department of Tulane University's Howard-Tilton Memorial Library is committed to collecting and preserving books and other items of historic and cultural value. Our goal is to provide Tulane students, staff, faculty, and the wider community with the opportunities to connect with these rare and unusual materials, whether it be for the purposes of research, classwork, or simply an appreciation for the art and history of the book.

The Rare Books Department acquires, preserves, and makes available to researchers a variety of rare books and distinctive collections.

The multiple strengths and growing collection areas of the Rare Books Collection include:

  • The French and American Revolutions

  • Book illustration and illustrators

  • History of the printed word and book

  • European Studies

  • French and francophone language and culture

  • Dog and cat books, particularly historical or illustrated/unusual works

  • Geoffrey Chaucer

  • Natural history, particularly historical works on botany

  • Edward Gorey (books by and about)

  • William Faulkner (works by and about)

  • Incunabula (works printed in Europe before 1501)

  • Kelmscott Press publications

  • Medieval works (original and facsimile editions)

  • Book art/artist's books, including miniature books

  • German and Swiss history and literature

  • British Shire Histories

  • Travel Narratives

  • Philosophical and Religious Texts