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A.M. Todd Rare Book Room

Spring 2018 Exhibit:

Game of Thrones: Murderous Plots & Rivalries in the Time of Mary Queen of Scots

Exhibit dates:  April - June 2018

Hours: Thursdays, 9am - 1pm

For more information, contact Mallory Heslinger at 269 337-5762

Rare Book Room Spring 2018 Exhibit


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Monday 8:30am - 12:30pm

Wednesday 8:30am - 12:00pm

Thursday 8:30am - 3:00pm

Or by appointment (contact Lisa Murphy at 269-337-7151)


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The rare book collection contributes to the educational program of the college by introducing students to unique primary source materials in the context of their academic course work and through regularly scheduled public exhibitions, many of which are curated by advanced-level students. The depth and variety found in the collection enable student curators to incorporate their own areas of interest into the exhibits. This experience serves as an excellent tool for individualized study as these students follow a scholarly path to in-depth knowledge of their subject and at the same time share the richness of the collection with the wider community.

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The Room

The collection is located on the third floor of Upjohn Library Commons, Room 326, in rooms equipped with environmental controls specifically designed to protect printed materials.

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The Collection

The A.M. Todd Rare Book Room houses a distinctive collection of rare and unusual books and manuscripts acquired by the college through the benevolence of alumni and friends. Taken together, the materials demonstrate the nature of intellectual inquiry over the past five hundred years and thereby reinforce the strength of the general library collection. The following summary introduces the most distinctive subject areas in the collection.

American Literature
A select group of notable works, highlighted by a first edition of Thoreau's Walden and first editions of Faulkner, Longfellow, and Henry James.

A solid and diverse assemblage which includes the 1481 Christopher Landino edition of Dante's Divina Commedia, first editions of Pope's translations of Homer, and numerous fine editions of the classics in Latin and Greek, several of which are first printings from the fifteenth and sixteen centuries.
Economic and Political Works
Including first editions of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, Rousseau's Contrat Social, and Hobbes's Leviathan.

English Literature|
A deep and wide-ranging collection, including first editions of Milton, Shelley, Byron, Dickens, and D.H. Lawrence.

History and Travel
Featuring first editions of Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, the complete set of official accounts of Cook's historic voyages, and the massive twenty volume Description de l'Egypte, commissioned by Napoleon.

History of Printing and Book Production
Encompasses the major technical and artistic developments throughout the history of book printing and production from the early movable press books of the fifteenth century through the private press movement near the end of the nineteenth century. The collection is well represented by many of the finest printers, from Gutenberg, Aldus Mantius, and Nicholas Jenson to William Morris, Lucien Pissarro, and T.J. Cobden-Sanderson.

Perhaps the most striking element of the collection, containing many beautifully bound, hand-colored books, among them signed works by Audubon and numerous folio volumes by ninteenth-century ornithologists John Gould, Daniel Elliot, and R. Bowdler Sharpe.

Scientific Works
A major emphasis of the collection, containing the first publications of scientific advances, among them Boyle's Law, Priestley's discovery of oxygen, and Lavoisier's chemical nomenclature.

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History of the Collection

The Rare Book collection at Kalamazoo College began in the 1920's with gifts from the library of Albert May Todd, a prominent Kalamazoo citizen and an internationally known book collector. Over the years, the collection gradually expanded through generous contributions of many donors, but it was not until the 1970's that it attained its present scope and stature. Major bequests from A.M. Todd's daughter, Ethel Todd Woodhams, and from Elizabeth Dewing Todd, the widow of Todd's son Paul, brought together a major portion of the library originally collected by Mr. Todd. Today, the collection contiues to be enhanced through the generosity of book lovers and friends of the library.

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Upjohn Library is pleased to accept donations of books and manuscripts in accordance with its gift policy. 

Rare Book Room Development Collection Policy

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Rare Book Room Fund

The Rare Book Room is supported by the A.M.Todd Rare Book Room Fund, a growing endowment created by friends of the college. The library welcomes contributions to this fund, which provides for the preservation, exhibition, and development of the collection.

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Guidelines for Using the Rare Book Room

The collection includes many items that are fragile and in delicate condition, and therefore require special handling. Visitors are requested to abide by the following guidelines:

  • Upon entering the room, guests should sign the register and check bags, purses, and briefcases with the attendant.
  • Food and beverages are not permitted.
  • Due to the age and condition of many of the books, only trained attendants may remove materials from the shelves.
  • Readers wishing to consult specific materials for scholarly purposes may request a reader's application form.
  • Because of the unique nature of the items, materials in the Rare Book Room do not circulate.

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