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Books Arts in Special Collections: Private Presses

About the collection

The University of Delaware Library includes examples of fine press printing from virtually every significant press from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The collection is particularly strong in American and British fine presses of the twentieth century. Special Collections also houses an extensive collection of illustrated books, including artists' books, botanicals, and manuscript facsimiles.

Suggested searches

To locate materials in the print collection including books, periodicals, and some printed ephemera, search DELCAT by location in the  Advanced Search option and limit your search to “Special Collections.”

In addition to author, title, and publisher it is often useful to search by subject. Use LC subject terms such as those below to search for material related to printing and the bookarts:

  • artists books
  • toy and movable books

Search by name of the press

  • From DELCAT > Advanced Search > Search Keyword in Publisher [i.e. Bird and Bull Press]

It is also possible to search for more specific terms such as "altered books," "accordian," "miniature books," etc.

Many copy specific details related to printing history and book-making do not receive LC subject terms and are instead recorded in the "Notes" fields in DELCAT. To search for these items, do a search of the "Keyword in notes" tab in the Advanced Search option on DELCAT. Please note that many of the notes fields have not yet been uploaded to Worldcat Local, and can only be found via DELCAT. Also, please note that many items in the collection were cataloged according to earlier standards which did not call for recording copy-specific details; please ask a librarian for further assistance if you need help finding items.


Try call number browsing, such as Z250.3 to browse sources about type ornaments and printing specimens.

Ask a Special Collections Librarian

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We are happy to help assist you with your research.


Special Collections is open Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Tuesday, 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Before visiting, please read the policies & procedures page and the visitor information page.

Also, for more information please see Frequently Asked Questions.