News & Events
Archives and Special Collections: Rare Books
The Archives and Special Collections department houses a significant collection of rare books which are representative of numerous scholarly disciplines. The Norris books remain the most notable collection, a sizable portion of the personal library of Isaac Norris, which was donated to the college in 1783 by his son-in-law and daughter, John and Mary Dickinson. These 1900 volumes comprised the majority of the original library of Dickinson College, and they remain the largest portion of Norris' library still intact. In addition, many valuable works have come to the college through more recent donations. Two such gifts of note are the Joseph Priestley collection, given by descendants of the famed scientist and theologian, and the Bible collection, donated largely by Edwin Eliott Willoughby, Dickinson Class of 1922.
The majority of the approximately 20,000 volumes held by the department are listed in the Library's online catalog, Catalyst. All of the volumes in the Norris Collection have been cataloged in The Books of Isaac Norris (1701-1766) at Dickinson College. Copies of The Books of Isaac Norris are available for purchase from the Special Collections. An online version which features title page images and basic bibliographic information is also available.
Books housed in Special Collections cannot be taken from the May Morris Reading Room (see the Rules and Regulations). Requests for photocopies will be handled on a case by case basis, depending upon the condition of the book in question.