Searching for rare books
There are many collections of rare books in the Archives and Special Collections Library. A list of descriptions is available online. To locate specific titles use either the online catalog or the card catalogs.
Card catalogs: There are two card catalogs in Thompson Library. One is on the main floor in the hallway between rooms 122 and 123. The other is in the Archives and Special Collections Library. Both provide access by author. If there is no author, access is by title. Materials in Special Collections are indicated by the following location or collection names: Grille, Bechtel, Vassariana, Treasure Room, or Locked File.
Online catalog: To use the online catalog to locate rare books, choose the Advanced Keyword Search option, then narrow by location. Most of the rare book collection in the Archives and Special Collections Library (Archive/SpecColl) is located in "Grille." Other locations include the Bechtel Children's Book Collection (Bechtel), Vassariana (VC), and the Alumnae/i Collection (Alum).
Some materials have not yet been catalogued. Please consult the Special Collections Assistant for more information about uncatalogued titles.
Searching for manuscripts
Finding aids provide detailed access to collections of personal papers and other historical records. Many, though not all, of the collections in the Archives and Special Collections Library have finding aids. All of the finding aids available can be obtained by contacting the Special Collections Assistant, and some of the finding aids can be accessed online:
There is also research guide available for Women's Papers in the Archives and Special Collections Library. Though not a complete listing, it does provide information about some of the collections relating to women's history, women's literature and other women's studies topics.
Searching for Vassar College archival material
A description of the kinds of material collected by the College Archives is available on our Collections page. A complete list of archival holdings as well links to finding aids can be accessed online:
Other frequently used research tools include the lists of Archives Files, Biographical Files, Subject Files, and Photograph Files. These files are related collections of materials gathered by the Vassar College Library on a variety of topics.
- Archives Files: contain 19th and early 20th century material, includes photographs, and are closed to additions.
- Biographical Files: contain 19th, 20th and 21st century material, include photographs, and do receive additions.
- Subject Files: generally date from the 20th and 21st centuries, do not include photographs, and do receive additions.
- Photograph Files: include photographs and other images relating to the college, generally date from the 20th and 21st centuries, and do receive additions.
In addition, a list of selected published material relating to the college is also available online:
Finding aids and lists currently unavailable online can be obtained by contacting the Special Collections Assistant.