Archives and Special Collections are open by appointment only, limited to UMN affiliates. Appointments must be made one week in advance of your visit. Contact or the curator of the collecting area you wish to use for assistance. We continue to provide scans of requested research materials when possible, especially for our non-campus clientele.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Elmer L. Andersen Library, including Special Collections & Rare Books, is closed until further notice. Please contact the curator by email if you have any questions. We will attempt to serve you as best we can while working remotely away from our offices. Thank you, and please stay safe.


Links are provided on this screen to a number of categories that attempt to list many of the collections held by the Special Collections and Rare Books department. These categories are:

  • Author Collections (consists primarily of book collections that contain various titles and editions by a specific author)
  • Book/Printing History Collections (covers the history of books and printing, graphic design, calligraphy, paleography and other aspects related to printing and typography)
  • Historical/Political Collections (aspects of local, national or world history or politics and may include books, periodicals, and/or archival material)
  • Literary Collections (may contain books, periodicals, and/or archival materials of a literary nature covering a number of authors and time periods)
  • Other Collections (collections that don't fit into any of the given categories)
  • Personal Libraries (the personal libraries of individual collectors covering various subjects)
  • Press Collections (items related to specific fine or small presses)
  • Scientific Collections (various aspects of science or technology and may include books, periodicals, and/or archival material)

Under each of these categories you will find a list of collections, some of them with links to additional information.

In some cases, (for example, the Medieval Manuscripts Collection or the Papyri Collection) additional scanned images are available of selected items.


Archival collection guides, or finding aids, are online guides to selected historical records and papers.
Search for digitzed images and other media.

Libraries catalog

Search for cataloged books, journals, and records.

The Digital Conservancy is the "digital arm" of the University Archives and provides access to digital scholarly and administrative records of the University of Minnesota.

Learn more about the Digital Conservancy.