Rare Books and Special Collections

Selected 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. Image of the Dictionary of National Biography that has been annotated. 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 George and Frank C. Hirahara Collection is considered the largest private collection of photos depicting life in the Japanese American incarceration camp at Heart Mountain Wyoming. This collection contains over 2000 images taken and processed from January 1943 to November 1945. George Hirahara and his son Frank captured images of camp life and special family milestones such as engagement celebrations, weddings, and family portraits. To view the digital images of the Hirahara photographs, please visit the George and Frank C. Hirahara Digital Collection. 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. Image of a book that reads "Two Stories" 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 1263 early Washington maps. 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

Historical Map Collection (1,000 maps)
Historical Newspaper Collection (122 linear feet)
Propaganda Poster Collection 1914-1996 (299 items)
Paul Brians Comics Collection (36 containers)
Clark Dissmeyer Comix and Small Press Collection (4 containers)
Comic Art and Culture Collection (17 containers)
Jeff Zenick Comix and Small Press Collection (4 containers)
Joseph M. Shea Comix and Small Press Collection (9 containers)
Steve Willis Comix Collection (59 containers)
Steve Willis Comix and Small Press Collection (114 containers)
Lynn R. Hansen Underground Comics Collection (123 containers)
Lynn R. Hansen Beatles Collection 1962-1995 (37 containers)
Cylinder Audio Recordings Collection ca. 1903-1913 (7 items)
Lester R. Greenwood “Third Parties” political periodicals collection, 1920-2007 (47 containers)
Confederate States of America Currency Collection, circa 1860-1866 (24 items)
Kies, Paul Philemon currency and bond collection 1769-1865 (6 items)
Tannatt family currency, scrip, and bond collection Circa 1839-1864 (12 items)
Howitt and Hills Print Collection
Radical Literature collection, 1886-1957
Historic Ephemera Collection
Fruit Crate Labels Collection
WSU Ephemera Collection
Washington State University Narrated slide show Collection, circa 1970s-1980s
Gray, Ewing and Co. (Spokane, Wash.) Sample Book Collection
MASC Historic Vertical File Collection, 1768-1976
Pacific Northwest Newspaper Clipping Collection, circa 1910s-1930s
Eastern Washington Historical Media Collection, 1928-1987
Japanese American Incarceration Collection (A digital collection consisting of selections from the following collections:)
Guide to the George and Frank C. Hirahara Collection of Heart Mountain, Wyoming, 1932-2012
Guide to the Tom Hide Collection
Guide to the Takeda Family Collection
Guide to the Mari Tsuruyama Okumura Collection
Guide to the Okubara Family Collection
Guide to the George and Doris McIntyre Collection
Guide to the Heart Mountain Relocation Center Quarterly Census March 31, 1944
Guide to the Terry Ishihara Collection, 1989-2012
Guide to the Mike Mackey Collection, 1942-2002
Guide to the Heart Mountain High School Tempo Collection, 1945
Guide to the Nabata Family Collection of Heart Mountain Photographs, circa 1942-1945