Special Collections

Special Collections are made up of books, and are understood to be distinct from the archival collections of the College. Most of these books are searchable in the online catalog, but access to the majority of these materials requires that a library staff member retrieves the title. These materials cannot be removed from the building. If you are interested in viewing these materials, please visit the Reference Desk, contact the archivist at tieger@bard.edu, or fill out a Special Collections Request Form. Following is a brief description of each of book collections with access specifications.

Arendt Collection

Comprising the personal library of writer and political theorist Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) and her husband Heinrich Bluecher (1899-1970), who taught at Bard from 1952 until the late 1960s. This collection consists of nearly 4000 titles, many of which contain annotations made by Arendt or Bluecher. The Archives is committed to a growing digital project to scan all of this marginalia and to make this freely available for scholarly access. Physical volumes in this collection must be viewed in the Reading Room, or with appropriate staff members.

Sussman Collection

This collection of 1300+ rare books and manuscripts was donated by Alan Sussman between 2011 and 2015, and was made available to the community in 2016. The collection follows the interests of the donor, and covers many topics including the English Civil War and the constitutional crisis of the 17th century; 1960s American beatnik and civil rights literature; manuscripts in many languages selected for their beauty, and other rare titles on subjects reflecting topics considered controversial at the time of publication. Titles in this collection must be viewed in the Reading Room, or with appropriate staff members.

Arendtiana Collection

Titles in this small collection represent significant works related to, or written by Hannah Arendt but published after her death in 1975. Examples here include Arendt titles translated into foreign languages; posthumous publications of her letters; or secondary works in which Arendt or her work is the central subject. Titles in this collection must be viewed in the Reading Room, or with appropriate staff members.

Bardiana Collection

This collection of 1100+ titles was created to document published works about the college or its founders. It also serves to collect and preserve publications by current Bard faculty and staff. Books written and donated by alumni/ae authors are also housed here. Titles in this collection can be checked out for use within the building.

Historical Journals

Historic journals can be searched in the online catalog and may be viewed in the Reading Room, or requested from the Reference Desk and used within the library.

historical journals

The title page from vol. 1 of Charles Dickens' popular publication "All the Year Round" 1859.

Hudson Valley Archives

Numbering about 650 titles, this collection contains books about the Hudson Valley and the people who live here. Books cover a broad range of topics related to aspects of this region including, but not limited to: local history, art history, photography, ecology, soil science, and historic preservation. Also included here are some older historic texts on New York City, and New York State. Titles in this collection do not circulate outside the library, but once checked out, can be used within the building.

hv collection

Cover design of the book "The Hudson" by Wallace Bruce, 1881.

Photography Books

This collection of 6000+ photography books was largely selected or donated by Professor Stephen Shore. Titles in this collection may not be checked out, but they are available for browsing and use within the building.

Special Collections

Books in Special Collections reflect a broad range of topics, and are selected for inclusion here based on a given title’s monetary value, condition, or unique format. Although valuable, Special Collections are placed here to maximize access by the college community; titles in this collection can be checked out from the reserves desk for use within the building.

Rare Books

Approximately 4000 titles are housed in the Rare Book Collection. Distinct from the Sussman Rare Book Collection, books housed here often represent the oldest holdings in the Library, with many volumes donated by the Bard and Cruger families, or other early alumni or faculty. Valuable or extremely fragile titles might also be classed rare. Titles in this collection may be shelved with other rare books in the Hoffman stacks, or in the Lower Level Vault., and must be viewed in the Reading Room, or viewed with appropriate staff members.

rare books

Bookplate denoting the gift of this title to St. Stephen's College from John and Margaret

Bard.  In v. 1: "The Writings of George Washington..." edited by Jared Sparks.

H.G. Wells Collection

This collection was created by Theodore Steinway, and is believed to have been donated by his sons John Steinway, ‘39 and Fritz Steinway, ‘43. The collection includes most or all editions of titles authored by H.G. Wells, as well as articles authored by or about Wells published within other works. This collection is currently uncataloged. Requests to access titles in this collection must be approved by the Archivist.

Montgomery Place Book Collection

Books in this collection were acquired through the sale of the Montgomery Place estate in 2016. Books are housed either in the mansion at Montgomery Place, or in the storage building known as Butler South. The collection is comprised of books owned by several generations of Livingstons, Delafields, and related family members that lived on the estate including: Janet Livingston Montgomery (1743-1828); Edward Livingston (1764-1836); Louise D’Avazac Livingston (1785-1860); Cora Livingston Barton (1806-1873); Thomas Barton (1803-1869); Louise Livingston Hunt (1834-1914), Julia Barton Hunt (1844-1939); John Ross Delafield (1874-1964), Violetta White Delafield (1875-1949), John White Delafield (1905-1985) and John Dennis Delafield (1936- ). The collection numbers over 6000 titles, of which approximately 1000 are currently cataloged. The collection is broad in scope but significant holdings include the early law books of Edward Livingston, as well as a deep collection of gardening books collected by Louise and Cora Livingston and Violetta White Delafield respectively. Titles in this collection must be accessed through the Archivist.