Johns Hopkins University

The Sheridan Libraries of Johns Hopkins University (founded 1876) encompass three historically discrete rare book and manuscript library collections: Special Collections in the Milton S. Eisenhower Library, the George Peabody Library, and the John Work Garrett Library. Special Collections in the Eisenhower Library are primarily of a consolidation of rare books formerly held within the university’s long-standing humanities departmental libraries: Near Eastern Studies, Classics, History, History of Art, History of Science & Technology, German & Romance Languages & Literatures, English, and Philosophy. Early (pre-1800) materials are also well represented in outstanding private collections added to the library’s holdings, such as the Arthur Machen Collection of early printed books and, more recently, the Dr. Elliott and Eileen Hinkes Collection of Rare Books in the History of Scientific Discovery; the Arthur and Janet Freeman Bibliotheca Fictiva Collection in the history of literary forgery; and the Women of the Book Collection on the religious culture of early modern women.

The Peabody Library is a spectacular architectural space and collection, originally founded in 1857 as a universal public research library in Baltimore, and built up steadily over more than 150 years. Its primary strengths in early books include incunabula and sixteenth-century imprints, natural history, travels and voyages, atlases, archaeology, and museum history. The John Work Garrett Library is a formerly private rare book collection gathered by two generations of the Garrett family of Baltimore, primarily between the 1880s and early 1940s, which are housed in the historic Evergreen mansion a few miles from the Homewood campus. Its strengths include medieval manuscripts, incunabula and early imprints, New World discovery, natural history (particularly ornithology), early Marylandiana, and folio illustrated plate books. The library also contains the Tudor & Stuart Club Collection of English Renaissance literature, the Julius Hoffmann Bible Collection, and the Laurence Hall Fowler Collection of architectural history.

The Sheridan Libraries also include the Hutzler Reading Room in the Homewood Campus landmark humanities building, Gilman Hall, and its sequence of 19 monumental stained-glass windows representing 19 Renaissance printers’ devices, all represented in the libraries’ rare book collections. Early imprints held by the Institute for the History of Medicine are administered by the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, rather than the Sheridan Libraries, though individual records of these books are accessible through the main Sheridan Libraries online catalogue.

To read more about these various collections, see Earle Havens (ed.), Bibliomania: 150 Years of Collecting Rare Books at the George Peabody Library (2017); Havens and Abigal Sia, “‘A Memorial to My Family’: The Story of the John Work Garrett Library,” in Evergreen, the Garrett Family, Collectors & Connoisseurs: The Evergreen Museum & Library (2017), 157-97; Havens, Renaissance Printers’ Devices: Essays on the Early Arts of Printing & the King Memorial Windows of Johns Hopkins University (2015); Havens, Fakes, Lies, and Forgeries: Rare Books and Manuscripts from the Arthur and Janet Freeman Bibliotheca Fictiva Collection (2014; 2nd ed., 2016); Havens, The Dr. Elliot and Eileen Hinkes Collection of Books in the History of Scientific Discovery at Johns Hopkins University (2011); Elizabeth Baer (ed.), The Fowler Architectural Collection of the Johns Hopkins University: Catalogue (1961; rpt. 1991).


Earle Havens, Nancy H. Hall Curator of Rare Books & Manuscripts
Johns Hopkins University, 17 November 2017


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