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Natural History in Special Collections

A selection of books on natural history found in the Hornbake Rare Books Library.

Natural History in Special Collections

One of the strengths of Hornbake Library's Literature and Rare Books Collection are works of natural history dating from the 15th century onward.  'Natural history' serves as an umbrella term for the scientific study of plants, animals, and objects of the natural world. The study relies heavily on observation as a means of learning about the world that we inhabit. Natural history can be broken down into several different fields of study, narrowing scopes of study to specific groups of flora and fauna. This guide functions in a similar way, organizing material into different studies, including botany and herbals, zoology, ornithology, entomology, herpetology, marine biology, and other natural sciences related to natural history.

The books in this guide feature the works of some well known naturalists such as Carl Linnaeus, John Edwards Holbrook, Robert Hooke, and Thomas Bewick. As natural history is a heavily observational study, many of the works within our collection contain detailed illustrations and diagrams of the flora and fauna being studied.

The works presented in this guide are from the Literature and Rare Books collection in Special Collections and University Archives, located in Hornbake Library. For more information about our holdings, please contact us

Search the UMD Catalog for Items in Special Collection

Use the University of Maryland classic catalog to search for titles in the rare book collection by date of publication, author, or keyword. Select Advanced Search and select Marylandia and Rare Books to search for works housed in Special Collections and University Archives.

Contact us with any questions about locating books in Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Maryland.

All rare books can be requested online and viewed in the Maryland Room, located in Hornbake Library at the University of Maryland College Park.