Rare Books & Manuscripts

PSU Library Special Collections is home to a growing collection of manuscripts, early printed works, and rare books dating back to the early medieval period.  The manuscript collection contains leaves and scrolls of religious texts from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, works of poetry and music, and legal documents.  Highlights of the rare book collection include significant Renaissance works in the sciences and humanities, Middle East studies, Northwest history, and Oregon authors.

Rare Books in the PSU Library Catalog

To find rare books held in Special Collections, search the catalog for manuscripts only:

  • Search the PSU Library Catalog
  • Select “Call Number” and enter “Mss.” (upper left search boxes)
  • Select “PSU Special Collections” in Search Scope (lower right box)

Rare Books and Manuscripts in PDXScholar

To find research presentations on manuscripts and early printed works in PSU Special Collections:

Digital Exhibits

  • The Envious Tooth of Time
    Original printed works from PSU Library Special Collections ranging from the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries. Curated by Jesse Locker, Assistant Professor of Renaissance and Baroque Art, PSU.
  • The Gift of the Word
    An exhibit of manuscripts acquired through the Gordon Hunter Fund, which each year helps the PSU Library support teaching and research with the acquisition of rare and significant books and artifacts. Researched and curated by students of Professor Anne McClanan’s art history seminar.

Medieval Portland

  • PSU Special Collections in Medieval Portland
    Medieval Portland is an online resource coordinated by Professor Anne McClanan, Portland State University’s medieval art historian. The Medieval Portland website contains a searchable database of medieval works in local collections, including PSU Library Special Collections. The research presented in Medieval Portland comes from both published sources and from original work by PSU students.