Rare Books Collection
The Rare Book Collections consist of volumes that, because of their rare, unique, or fragile nature, are segregated from the rest of the library’s collections and provided with greater care, security, and attention. The Rare Book Collections include a General Rare Book Collection and a number of named collections, which honor either author or donor.
The Rare Book Collection complements Skidmore College’s curriculum. Collecting focuses include fine press, artists’ books and classical texts. Rare books are added to the collections by gift and by transfer from the general library stacks. A limited number of artists’ books are purchased every year.
All items in the Rare Book Collection are searchable in the Library Catalog (use the “Location” limiter to select “Special Collections”).
A collection of the works of Edith Wharton, including numerous first editions, is held by Special Collections.
The Department of Special Collections is home to an impressive collection of the works of the American poet Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950). The collection includes several hundred books and a number of literary journals and photographs, and features Millay and several of her contemporaries. Many of Millay’s first editions are represented in the collection, as are several volumes signed by Millay and others. The collection was a gift to Skidmore by Frank T. Crohn in 1986. Later gifts, by Dalton Delan, Judith and George Lowry, and John Patton, have added to the collection.
The collection of Admiral Gene Markey, Hollywood writer, producer, bon vivant and co-owner of the legendary racehorse establishment Calumet Farms, came to Skidmore through the wishes of his wife Lucille and the generosity of the Markeys’ heirs.
Housed in Special Collections is the Markeys’ personal library of horse literature, both general and specifically pertaining to Thoroughbred racing, as well as books authored by Admiral Markey, several of which display his talent for caricature.
A varied collection of rare books donated to Skidmore or transferred from the circulating collection. Highlights of this collection include a 15th century illuminated Book of Hours, an originally complete set of Edward Curtis’s The North American Indian and a first edition Book of Job by William Blake.
In 1992, George Colton donated his collection of primarily 20th century literature to the Scribner Library. Included in the collection are works by Lawrence Durrell, Lady Augusta Gregory, Sean O’Casey, Liam O’Flaherty, John Galsworthy, David McCord, Anais Nin, and James Stephens. Although the Colton Collection is not yet cataloged, an inventory of the collection is available in Special Collections.
Poet Jean Garrigue’s personal library of over 2,000 books was donated to Skidmore College after her death in 1972. Volumes of special interest, such as Garrigue’s own copies of her published works, magazines in which her work first appeared, presentation copies of works by other writers, first editions, and books containing her notes or markings, are housed in Special Collections. An extensive listing of the library’s Garrigue holdings is available in Special Collections.
Dating from approximately 1960 to 1990, the Science Fiction Collection is comprised of novels, anthologies, and criticisms. The collection was donated by Skidmore Professor John J. Cunningham and supplemented by a gift from former Skidmore Dean Phyllis Roth.
A partial inventory of the collection is available in Special Collections. Please consult a member of Special Collections staff for help in locating titles in the collection.
Supplemental to the Steloff Collection is the Katharine Alling Collection, also housed in Special Collections. In 1993, Katharine Alling, a friend of Steloff, donated her library (much of which was supplied by Steloff and the Gotham Book Mart) to Skidmore. Alling’s donation was given in honor of Frances Steloff. Included in the Alling Collection are volumes by W. H. Auden, T. S. Eliot, Langston Hughes, James Joyce, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Kenneth Patchen, Ezra Pound, and William Carlos Williams.
The Katharine Alling Collection is not yet accessible through the library’s online catalog. A listing of titles in the Alling Collection is available in Special Collections.
This collection features works by, about, and in several cases, from the library of caricaturist and writer Sir Max Beerbohm (1872-1956). Collected and donated to the Scribner Library by John Marsh, this collection contains over one hundred books.
The Fox Collection features approximately 400 books by authors and illustrators such as Aubrey Beardsley, William Blake, Robert Browning, Lewis Carroll, George and Robert Cruikshank, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Grimm Brothers, Washington Irving, Sir Walter Scott, William Thackeray, and Oscar Wilde.
A very thorough catalog of the collection, by Professor Catherine Golden, is also available in the circulating collection (call number Z881 .S375 1993) and in Special Collections.
In 1991, the Fox-Adler Lecture was founded to celebrate the relationship between nineteenth-century literature and art. The series commemorates the Norman M. Fox Collection, which contains approximately 400 works by Victorian authors and illustrators. Each year, a distinguished scholar or practicing artist comes to campus to share insights into the creation, history, culture, and/or theoretical significance of illustrated works ranging from books and magazines for adults to children’s literature. This website designed by Prof. Catherine J. Golden and Aimee Hall ’19 preserves the history of this lecture with attention to the two donors, Hannah Adler and Norman Fox, biographies of each “Fox-Adler Lecturer,” and information on the lectures themselves.
Since 1964 when Walter Hamady published his first book, The Disillusioned Sophist, The Perishable Press Limited has printed scores of books, a vast opus reflecting the imaginative power of Hamady.
These volumes have included the poetry of Paul Blackburn, Robert Creeley, W. S. Merwin, Diane Wakoski, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Michael Ondaatje, as well as illustrations by Jack Beal, John Wilde, Sam Gilliam, Ellen Lanyon and John Digby.Hamady has said the name of his press reflects the human condition which is both perishable and limited. The irony for aficionados of The Perishable Press Limited is that his creations seem without limits. They are texts which do not conform to the usual restrictions imposed by the form and structure of a book. Every aspect of the production and content, from the handmade paper to the whimsical colophons, is the product of Hamady’s extraordinarily inventive mind.
This collection is dedicated to Skidmore College Professor Phyllis A. Roth in recognition of her scholarly contributions to the study of vampire literature, her lifelong service to Skidmore College as a teacher and administrator, and the deep affection in which she is held by many grateful students, friends and alumni.
The collection is given by J. Christopher Giancarlo (Skidmore Class of 1981) and his wife, Regina Beyel Giancarlo, and generously supplemented by Phyllis Roth and friends. The collection features rare and first editions of many vampire books as well as magazines, playbills, comics, ephemera, and assorted toys and accoutrements relating to the vampire theme. An inventory of the books is available through a database in Special Collections; please contact staff for more information.
Literary and scholarly publications by Skidmore faculty and notable alumni, as well as volumes about the College itself, are retained in the Skidmoreana Collection.
The generous donors of the Pohndorff Reading Room in Special Collections, Harry and Anita Yates, also donated this collection of Saratoga Springs related books. Both fiction and nonfiction works are in this collection. Note that there is also a separate collection of Yates archival materials and prints, mostly pertaining to Saratoga Springs or the Yates family, in our manuscript collection.