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Guide to Using Special Collections at Yale University [Revised Draft]: Yale Special Collections

Overview of Yale's Library and Museum Special Collections

The information below is meant to provide a concise, high-level overview of the many special collections at Yale University. Interested researchers should use the website and contact links provided below to find out additional information about each repository and its collections and services.

Locations of Yale's libraries and special collections repositories can be found in this interactive map.

Special Collections Repositories at Yale University

Special Collection Overview Location Contact Email
Arts Library Special Collections Materials from the former Art+Architecture and Drama libraries, as well as the Arts of the Book Collection. Holdings include contemporary catalogues raisonnés,  18th- and 19th-century works on artists and architecture, a broad selection of fine press and artists’ books, rare research materials in support of these subject areas, and the Faber  Birren Collection of Books on Color. Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library, Paul Rudolph Hall/Jeffrey Loria Center, 190 York Street, New Haven, CT
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Americana | early books and manuscripts | early modern British, European, and Osborn collections | East Asian books and manuscripts; | James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection | maps | modern books and manuscripts | Near and Middle East books and manuscripts | American literature | Western Americana 121 Wall Street, New Haven, CT
Divinity Library Special Collections Particular strengths of Special Collections at the Divinity Library are documentation of the Protestant missionary endeavor, records of religious work among college and university students, and papers of American clergy and evangelists. Divinity Library, Yale Divinity School, 409 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT
Lewis Walpole Library Focused on the eighteenth century and the study of Horace Walpole, collections include important holdings of eighteenth-century British prints, drawings, manuscripts, rare books, paintings, and decorative arts. 154 Main Street, Farmington, CT
Manuscripts and Archives Collections document a wide array of subject areas and time periods, often with a strong link to Yale and its faculty, students, alumni, and other members of the Yale community; or to areas in which Yale has had strong teaching and research interests. Includes the University Archives, Yale publications, and the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies. Sterling Memorial Library, 120 High Street, New Haven, CT
Medical Historical Library Printed books and manuscripts relating to the history of medicine, rare medical works, visual materials, pamphlets, and medical ephemera, with particular strength in Arabic and Persian manuscripts Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library, Yale School of Medicine, 333 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT
Music Library Special Collections Collections include rare manuscripts, books, and scores, as well as the papers of notable composers, performers, scholars, and organizations; a wealth of sound recordings from the earliest cylinders to current technology, and a vast library of oral histories taken with notable figures from all areas of American Music. Includes Oral History of American Music and Historical Sound Recordings. Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Sterling Memorial Library, 120 High Street, New Haven, CT
Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library Collection of more than 50,000 historical law books and manuscripts supporting the curriculum of the Yale Law School and the research of students, faculty, and scholars throughout the world. Sterling Law Building, Yale Law School, 127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT
Yale Film Archive An archive of 35mm, 16mm, 8mm, and Super 8mm film prints and negatives, and a growing collection of media in a variety of video formats supporting the use of film in teaching and learning and through public screenings. Whitney Humanities Center, Room B-17, 53 Wall Street, New Haven, CT


Special Collection Overview Location Contact Email
Yale Babylonian Collection, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History Over 45,000 items, including cuneiform tablets, cylinder seals, and other artifacts, as well as a complete reference library. Sterling Memorial Library, 120 High Street, New Haven, CT
Yale Center for British ArtInstitutional Archives Holdings include information on past exhibitions, publications, programs, and events, as well as the art collections, and the Louis Kahn building and its subsequent renovations and conservation. The Institutional Archives also holds collections pertaining to the life and collecting of Paul Mellon, and organizations and individuals affiliated with the Center, past and present. 1080 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT
Yale Center for British Art , Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection of approximately 35,000 volumes representing a broad range of material relating to the visual arts and cultural life in the United Kingdom and the former British Empire, dating from the fifteenth century to the present. 1080 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT
Yale Collection of Musical Instruments, Yale School of Music Collection acquires, preserves, and exhibits musical instruments from antiquity to the present, and showcases restored examples in demonstrations and live performances, and serves as a laboratory for historical, artistic, and innovative exploration and education in the arts and sciences. 15 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven, CT
Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History Ten scientific collections that tell the story of the Earth, its life, history, and cultures. Exhibitions, events and educational programs have enriched the Yale and New Haven communities, and beyond, since 1866. 170-210 Whitney Avenue, New Haven, CT
Yale University Art Gallery Founded in 1832, the Gallery is the oldest university art museum in America. The museum collects, preserves, studies, and presents art in all media, from all regions of the globe and across time, with a collection numbering nearly 300,000 objects. The Gallery maintains a number of special study centers available to researchers by appointment. 1111 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT