Rare Books and Special Collections
MASC holds more than 50,000 glorious rare books that are available for consultation in our reading room. We actively collect in areas that directly support the teaching and research mission of Washington State University and welcome visitors interested in our collections. Gift monies from the Mildred Bissinger and the Edwin and Ruth Burgess endowments enhance our annual University allocations and ensure that our rare book collections remain vital. Our printed collections span more than 500 years from 52 incunabula--books printed before 1501--to modern first editions.
Arguably our most important collection is the personal, working library of Leonard and Virginia Woolf (more than 9,000 books). The Library of Leonard and Virginia Woolf is rich in volumes annotated by Leonard Woolf (including a few annotated by Virginia Woolf), numerous review copies, and gifts from their friends. Leonard and Virginia Woolf's personal Library also contains books once owned by Virginia Woolf's father Sir Leslie Stephen, editor of the Dictionary of National Biography (MASC has Sir Leslie Stephen's annotated copy of the DNB), and other family members. Some 150 books in the collection were bound or rebound by Virginia Woolf herself. Since the purchase of the Woolf Library in early 1970s, we've collected books that they published at their Hogarth Press, founded in 1917, and materials relating to the Bloomsbury Group. The Hogarth Press Collection is among the most extensive in existence and is especially strong in the period from 1917 until 1946. Among the highlights of the Hogarth Press Collection are 3 copies -- including both binding variants -- of Two Stories: the very first volume published by the Hogarth Press limited, to 150 copies, hand-set and hand-printed by Leonard and Virginia Woolf in their living room, and a copy of the privately circulated Poems by C. N. Sidney Woolf, 1918.
MASC also holds notable 20th century books, such as the first edition of James Joyce's Ulysses, and collections of British writers including D. H. Lawrence, John Masefield, the Powys brothers, Rose McCaulay, and Charles Williams.
The Smithcors Collection of Veterinary History was formed over a period of 35 years by J.F. Smithcors, DVM, PhD, who developed the first course in veterinary history (1955) to be taught in America. The collection is distinguished not only by its scope (more than 1,300 titles), but also its deep holdings of multiple editions of individual authors, for example 19 editions of works by Henry Bracken 1697-1764 and 18 books by William Gibson 1680-1750.
The Wildlife and Outdoor Recreation Collection includes the donations of three fishing and angling collections including that of Roy Hansberry, a WSU graduate (Class of 1931), which contains some of the significant editions in the history of angling including Frederic Halford's Dry Fly Entomology (1897), Alfred Ronalds' The Fly Fisher's Entomology (1913). James Quick gave his collection of 1200 volumes devoted to fly fishing for trout and steelhead in the Pacific Northwest and in 2008, Joan and Vernon Gallup donated a magnificent collection of 506 editions of Izaak Walton's The Complete Angler, including all 17th century editions.
For over a century librarians at WSU have added to our distinguished Pacific Northwest History collection that includes Washington Territorial imprints (books printed in Washington before statehood in 1889), and more recently, extensive holdings of ephemeral publications, such as civic booster pamphlets, tourist guides, and railroad publications. MASC also holds 176 titles that once comprised the private library of Elkanah and Mary Richardson Walker, early missionaries to the Northwest. Related to the Northwest Americana materials is our collection of more than 1,000 historical maps which document the exploration, settlement, and development of the Pacific Northwest and other regions of the western hemisphere from the 16th through the 20th centuries. Manuscript maps in the collection drawn by Pierre De Smet are among the earliest of the Pacific Northwest. In partnership with the University of Washington and the Tacoma Public Library we digitized 946 maps with links to click-and-zoom MrSID files.
During the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, the WSU Library acquired more than 1,000 17th-century English books in the fields of history, travel, and religious polemic. Over the last decade, we've enhanced these Early Modern collections with acquisitions such as the first folio editions of John Stow's The Survey of London and John Milton's Paradise Lost. In 2007, we purchased a Restoration Drama Collection comprised of "sophisticated" copies of more than 130 plays including works by Sir George Etherege, Ben Jonson, Thomas Shadwell, and John Dryden.
Additional Special Collections include:
Guide to the Tom Hide Collection
Guide to the Takeda Family Collection
Guide to the Okubara Family Collection
Guide to the George and Doris McIntyre Collection