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History of the Book

A guide to resources on the the history of printing and the book using materials from University of Maryland Special Collections.

About Rare Books

Rare books are the treasured artifacts of early printing, monuments to human expression, works of art in books form. Scarcity, monetary value, research interest, and other factors contribute to deciding what is rare.

Our rare book collection in Hornbake Library contain books, pamphlets, and ephemera dating from the 15th century. The scope of the collection is broad, encompassing the humanities, including: French history, natural history, German Expressionism, botany and agriculture, illustrated books, and private press books.  

Materials from the Rare Books Collection can be viewed in the Maryland Room, on the first floor of Hornbake Library.

Rare Book Collections

With materials ranging from a hobbyists collection to a press operated by Benedictine nuns, these volumes cover a wide range of topics related to the impact of the printed book in society.

Incunabula Collection on Flickr

Incunable leaves, codices, and books are wonderful examples of the craft and artistry of the early years of printing. These materials illustrate the techniques of early Western printing as it developed from the fifteenth century onwards.  

Visit the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library North for more information on incunable codices, leaf books, and leaf collections that are available in Special Collections and University Archives.

Explore our collection of incunabula leaves on Flickr.