Brandeis University, Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections

Overview: Brandeis’s Special Collections houses items in a wide variety of formats: rare books, manuscripts, archival collections, periodicals, and visual collections. The rare books include incunabula, first and critical editions, fine press publications, and early printings on subjects ranging from Christianity in Europe and America, bibliography and lexicography, classical studies, exploration, Anglo-American history and literature, French and English law and politics, Hebraica and Judaica, the history of science, Renaissance music, Shakespeare, and Leonardo da Vinci. Manuscripts on a broad span of topics range from the thirteenth to the twentieth centuries: late-medieval Judaica and Hebraica, Books of Hours, early European and Middle Eastern manuscripts, Japanese manuscripts, and drafts of prominent twentieth-century literary works including Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. Archival collections focus primarily on topics dating to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: American and European socio-political leaders, the Holocaust, anti-Semitism and Jewish resistance, conflicts in the United States and abroad, left- and right-wing movements in the West, Zionism, and Jewish-American writers and artists. Highlights from the visual and periodical collections include a collection of HonorĂ© Daumier lithographs, the Carl Van Vechten photograph collection, propaganda posters from the Spanish Civil War, World War I, and World War II, and the Dime Novel collection.

American Revolution Materials: Three of Brandeis’s collections include materials related to the American Revolution. The William Lloyd Garrison Collection contains two fragments of correspondence connected to the service of African American soldiers in the American Revolution.

The Elsie O. and Philip D. Sang Signers of the Declaration of Independence Collection contains 58 documents and letters related to the signers of the Declaration of Independence. The collection ranges in date from 1756 to 1811 and includes personal and professional correspondence, receipts, and legal documents, as well as the engraved portraits of George Wythe and Button Gwinnett.

The Elsie O. and Philip D. Sang Signers of the United States Constitution Collection contains 50 letters, documents, and portraits (including an oversize color portrait of Alexander Hamilton) ranging from 1759 to 1825 which relate to the signers of the U.S. Constitution.

Key Words: African Americans, autographs, U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Button Gwinnett, Alexander Hamilton, legal documents, letters, portraits/paintings, receipts, soldiers/militia, George Wythe

Collection Policies: Brandeis’s Special Collections actively acquires materials and receives donations, particularly those that strengthen its major foci: Judaica, the Spanish Civil War, World War II, French Judaica, the age of exploration, Shakespeare, and the history of science. Finding aids are created in Archon and available online. There are also legacy print finding aids which are being converted to Archon. Special Collections does not usually loan materials, but will make high-quality facsimiles for exhibits. The institution also hosts exhibits, which primarily showcase its own materials and collections.