Special Collections units at Yale University are open to Yale-affiliated faculty, students, staff, and the public. Please see individual repository websites for information on whether appointments are required to visit specific reading rooms. Yale's Covid Visitor's Policy contains up to date information related to Yale's pandemic response. Please contact the reading room you are visiting if you have any questions or concerns about your visit.
Special Collections staff are available to assist and answer any questions about their collections. Please see the email information to contact specific special collection units below.
The purpose of this guide is to introduce you to the wealth of special collections available for research and teaching at Yale Library and Yale Center for British Art. There are special collections repositories within many of the libraries and museums at Yale, and all are available for use by Yale students, faculty, and staff, and independent researchers from the New Haven community and around the world.
This guide will provide information on:
The Primary Sources at Yale site provides additional information that will help you identify, find, and explore primary sources in all of Yale's libraries and museums.
There is no single, comprehensive definition of special collections, but at Yale, all special collections share a few common characteristics:
Similarly, there is no single definition of the types of materials that determine what special collections are. At Yale, special collections may consist of (but are not necessarily limited to) any or all of the following types of materials:
At Yale, special collections are held by several of our libraries and museums. Some, like Manuscripts and Archives and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, only hold special collection materials. Others, like the Yale Center for British Art, hold special collections and museum collections, which are managed separately. Still others, like the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, hold special collections along with more conventional, circulating library materials.
Arts Library Special Collections, Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library
Divinity Special Collections, Divinity School Library
Manuscripts and Archives, Sterling Memorial Library
Medical Historical Library, Cushing/Whitney Medical Library
Music Library Special Collections, Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Sterling Memorial Library
Yale Center for British Art Institutional Archives, Yale Center for British Art
Yale Center for British Art, Department of Prints and Drawings, Yale Center for British Art
Yale Center for British Art, Department of Rare Books and Manuscripts, Yale Center for British Art
See the Additional Collections at Yale tab on this guide for information regarding other Yale University special collections that do not share the Aeon registration/request system.