Denison Library Book Collections

The unique quality of Denison Library’s facilities has remained unchanged with the exception of two notable additions: the Dorothy M. Drake Wing in 1966 and the Ellen Browning Scripps Reading Room in 2001. North of Valencia Court is the four-story wing named in honor of the beloved College Librarian (1938-70) Dorothy M. Drake. The building was designed by Criley and McDowell of Claremont. At the east end, a stained glass window by Scripps Professor Douglas McClellan features forms of the alphabet. The wrought iron railing on the second floor overlooking this east window was fashioned by the aforementioned E. G. Anderson, who 30 years earlier had designed the furniture for the Main Reakoom and current Rare Book Room.

Thanks to its relationship with The Claremont Colleges, Scripps claim access to more than 2,000,000 volumes through the Consortium, resources far exceeding those of colleges of comparable size. Further, Denison Library offers access to myriad full text and other electronic materials in a networked environment providing access to global resources for research. Consistently over the years, Denison’s collections have emphasized primary, published materials in the humanities, performing arts, and art history, and on women.

Julius Wagenheim of San Diego, one of the College’s first trustees, gave the initial group of reference books to the Library. Over the years, the Library has been fortunate to receive many generous gifts of rare books and funds. Giving credit to all honors would be difficult: however, some of the significant collections are described below.

Special Collections

  • The Ida Rust Macpherson Collection, established in 1936, is the earliest collection on women at any U.S. women’s college. These more than 3,000 volumes by and about women are predominantly primary, published source materials, diaries, letters, journals, memoirs, and autobiographies. The Collection’s holdings of manuscripts of women of literary and historical significance continues to grow. Represented are Marie Corelli, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Eva LeGallienne, Marianne Moore, May Sarton, and Gertrude Stein. The Macpherson Collection features about 170 women’s periodicals from the late 18th century to the present. Particularly notable is the extensive collection of women printers and book designers from the earliest printed books to the work of contemporary book artists. With the exception of the work of women printers, which is shelved in the Rare Book Room, the Macpherson Collection is housed in two small rooms on the lower level.
  • The John I. Perkins Collection, more than 6,000 volumes bequeathed in 1941 by John I. Perkins, a Los Angeles book collector who wished his books to be used by students, forms the core of the Rare Book Room. Many subsequent donors and benefactors have added to the resources important for the study of the history of the book and fine printing from 2000 B.C. to the present.
  • The Scripps College Press Collection includes books, broadsides, bookplates, and bindings produced by students from 1941 to the present.
  • The Scripps College Archives serve as a significant record for the study of the institution and for the history of women’s education in general. In addition to student body and College publications, the Archives include faculty, alumnae, and student publications, selected senior theses, student newspapers, construction records, blueprints and architectural drawings, papers of faculty and trustees, records on curriculum development, and a large photograph collection.
  • Aubrey Beardsley Collection: Donated by Michael Wilson, this collection features books by and about Beardsley, and books and journals illustrated by this still-controversial artist from the 1890s. Included are complete runs of the Savoy and Yellow Book periodicals and a portfolio of original drawings.
  • Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning Collection: 1500 volumes, original letters, and other important memorabilia and associated items given by the Pacific Coast Browning Society. In addition to all the first editions of the poets Robert and Elizabeth Browning, highlights include Robert Browning’s copy of the Iliad with his marginalia and flyleaf notes in Greek.
  • T.S. Eliot Collection: A collection of inscribed books, manuscripts, and memorabilia given to the College by Emily Hale, former faculty member at Scripps and life-long friend of T. S. Eliot as well as a collection of the work of T. S. Eliot.
  • Frederic Goudy Collection: Features books about, correspondence from, and photographs of Goudy, and the archive of the typeface designed by Goudy for the Scripps College Press. Included in are Goudy’s original drawings, cardboard and metal patterns, and matrices as well as an extensive collection of ephemera with many of Goudy’s typefaces.
  • Alexa Fullerton Hampton Collection on the Eighteenth Century: Includes works of English literature, history and travel, especially Samuel Johnson, James Boswell, and Hester Lynch Piozzi.
  • Phil Townsend Hanna Collection of Californiana: Nearly one thousand volumes of Californiana and Baja Californiana, including many western cookbooks.
  • The Louise Seymour Jones Collection of Bookplates: More than 4,600 bookplates provide a valuable source for graphic and book arts. A smaller collection made by Eleanor Homer now augments the original gift and includes monographs and periodicals about bookplates.
  • Addison M. Metcalf Collection of Gertrude Steiniana: A vast collection of Steiniana; Gertrude Stein’s literary executor Carl Van Vechten called the Collection “the most valuable one in existence except for the archive at Yale.” Includes first editions, translations, articles by and about Stein, correspondence, typescripts, letters, photographs, paintings, graphics, theater posters, recordings, programs and other memorabilia related to the life, associations, and influence of Stein.
  • The Howard-Miller and Ruth Lamb Collections of South and Latin American Literature and Drama: Emphasizing Spanish and Latin American literatures, the Howard-Miller Collection includes complete works by and about authors such as Ricardo Guiraldes, Leopoldo Lugones, and Jorges Luis Borges. The Ruth Lamb Collection claims nearly three thousand volumes on Latin American literature and theater.
  • Alexander Pogo Collection of Classical Antiquity: This gift to the Libraries of the Claremont Colleges in 1977 consists of more than three hundred volumes printed from the 16th through the 20th centuries of works of Greek and Roman authors. The titles appear in Greek and Latin and in translation.
  • Ellen Browning Scripps Papers: The personal and business records, correspondence, and other ephemera of Miss Ella Browing Scripps (1836-1932), the founder of the College, and her family, most of whom were associated with journalistic and philanthropic endeavors.
  • Kimberly Stuart Papermaking Collection: The Kimberly Stuart Papermaking Collection consists of books and journals that trace the history of papermaking and all the works of Dard Hunter.