The 1941 donation of the John I. Perkins Collection of more than 6,000 volumes forms the foundational core of Denison Library’s still expanding rare printed book collection. Perkins’ donation singlehandedly distinguished Denison Library as a resource for the study of the history of the book and fine printing with its cuneiform tablets from 3,000 B.C.E., the library’s beloved sixteenth century French gradual and other music manuscripts, publications by William Morris and the Kelmscott Press, and a collection of books with fine bindings. Denison Library continues to acquire fine press publications focused on the humanities and women, and now includes a new focus on women in the sciences in this genre. Smaller yet distinctive book collections include children’s books and historic juvenilia; the poets Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning and their circle; Asian art; poetry; children’s books; and a cookbook collection.
The artists’ books collection at Denison Library is recognized nationally for its breadth and depth of subject matter, artists, materials, geographic scope, wide-ranging formats, and diversity of languages. Artists’ books and zines in the collection include historic works by Ed Ruscha as well as comprehensive holdings for female book artists such as Claire Van Vliet (Janus Press), Julie Chen (Flying Fish Press) and the publications created by various artists at Women’s Studio Workshop. Denison Library also has a complete collection of Scripps College Press books, broadsides, bookplates, and bindings since its founding in 1941. The library actively collects in this genre and is particularly interested in works by and about women and gender identity. The library’s artists’ books collection has been a genre in which the library has been able to add a wider range of voices and perspectives to include materials related to climate justice, politics, racial and ethnic identities, economic inequalities, reproductive justice, and gun control.
All of Denison Library’s cataloged books may be requested via our online catalog.