Special Collections

Monmouth University Special CollectionsAccess, Research and Instruction

Monmouth University Library's Special Collections, located on the Library’s second floor, proudly possesses rare books, medieval manuscript leaves, the New Jersey Collection, artist’s books, and The Lewis Mumford Library. Students, independent researchers, and the public are all encouraged to make an appointment to examine and enjoy its holdings.


What We Do

Collaborating with teaching faculty, Special Collections offers students the uncommon opportunity to explore the primary resource. Engaging assignments can be designed to include primary source analysis of manuscript and print culture from virtually any medium such as books, newspapers, and ephemera; printing variations and errors, multiple edition comparisons, illustration techniques and their impacts on texts; title page transcriptions, translations, and paleography; censorship and the text; explorations of local histories; author annotations, provenance, and the aesthetics of book arts; reading habits, authorship, and printing technologies; digitization projects and the digital humanities. 


Additionally, rare book displays, presentations, and talks on all aspects of book history are offered throughout the year. Students enrolled in the first-year seminar course The Story of the Book also regularly use special collections to perform class research throughout the semester.


To arrange a class visit, discuss potential research assignment opportunities, or attend a presentation or talk, please contact special collections librarian George Germek at 732-571-4403 or at ggermek@monmouth.edu.

Rare Book Collection

Monmouth University Library’s rare book collection has been developed as a teaching collection with student researchers in mind. To that end, acquisitions that strengthen the rare book collection are made to support the aims of the university curriculum.

Our rare books collection contains many fine works from important writers including Woolf, Dickens, Blake, Shakespeare, Dante, Hawthorne, and many others. Just a few highlights include an early printing of the Declaration of Independence, a growing children’s literature collection, a Paris and Company first edition of James Joyce's Ulysses, an early King James Bible, and exceptional works from the sixteenth-century Aldine Press. 


The Lewis Mumford Collection

The Mumford Collection, located within the special collections reading room at Monmouth University Library, contains over 3500 books and artifacts comprising the personal library of Lewis Mumford – the only one of its kind anywhere. To access the catalog of Lewis Mumford's personal book annotations click here.


Monmouth University Library Special Collection Manuscript LeavesDetached Leaves

Monmouth University Library's Special Collections also maintains fine medieval manuscript leaves from Books of Hours, antiphonals, breviaries, psalters, and prayer books—many of which are magnificently illuminated. The collection also includes detached printed leaves from the first King James Bible, the Coverdale Bible (the first Bible printed in English), an original typeset leaf of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, and a superb Kelmscott Chaucer leaf from the press of William Morris.



The New Jersey Collection

The New Jersey Collection encompasses some 3100 books, periodicals, and cataloged documents pertaining to New Jersey, with particular emphasis on Monmouth County. No appointment is necessary to use the collection.


The Bruce Springsteen Collection

The Bruce Springsteen Special Collection comprises nearly 22,000 items that range from books and concert memorabilia to articles and promotional materials. The collection serves the research and informational needs of music fans, scholars, authors, and others with a serious interest in Bruce Springsteen’s life and career. Research access to the collection is by appointment only. To make one contact Eileen Chapman at 732-571-3512. You can, however, peruse the Bruce Springsteen Collection online catalog anytime by clicking http://www.friendsofthespringsteencollection.org/


Operating Hours and Policies

The Special Collections Reading Room, located on the library’s second floor, is open Monday through Friday 9-5, by appointment. Reader policies are available here.


Monmouth University Special Collections Mission StatementMission Statement

Monmouth University Library's Special Collections Department collects, preserves, provides access to, and promotes the use of its rare and unique materials in order to support the academic programs of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and other scholars, including those outside the academic community. The Department accomplishes this mission through collection development, book history instruction, exhibitions and community outreach.


Collection Development Policy

Click here to see the Library’s collection development policy.



Monmouth University is interested in rare book donations to help build its collections. To consider donations contact George Germek at ggermek@monmouth.edu