Archives & Special Collections houses Amherst College's rare books, literary manuscripts, written materials of unique value, historic photographs, sound recordings, moving image recordings, and a large collection of objects. It serves as the official repository for the records of Amherst College, including those pertaining to academic programs and departments, College administration, and student activities. The department collects a wide range of historical and biographical materials relating to alumni, alumnae, faculty and other individuals connected with the College.
Archives & Special Collections holds over 80,000 books and 11,000 linear feet of archival materials. The department houses major collections of Emily Dickinson and Richard Wilbur books and manuscripts, along with extensive holdings of other poets and writers. The history of Amherst College, and the local community, is extensively documented through books, manuscripts, photographs, film, and objects. Other strengths of the collections include natural history, especially ornithology; missionary activity; travel literature; theater; international politics and diplomacy; and social justice and activism.
General guides to our collections:
Archives and Special Collections Collection Development Policy
Guide to Rare Book Holdings
Subject Guides to Archival and Manuscript Holdings
On exhibit in the Archives & Special Collections, Frost Library
This exhibition explores questions about race through close study of the history of printing and publishing in Europe and North America. With examples from the Archives, this exhibit considers what passed for scientific publishing in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with an emphasis on discoveries that challenged the authority of the Bible.
I’m Nobody! Who are you? The Life and Poetry of Emily Dickinson
On exhibit January 20 through May 28, 2017 at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City
The exhibition closely examines twenty-four poems in various draft states, with corresponding audio stops. In addition to her writings, the show also features an array of visual material, including hand-cut silhouettes, photographs and daguerreotypes, contemporary illustrations, and other items that speak to the rich intellectual and cultural environment in which Dickinson lived and worked. The exhibition is organized in conjunction with Amherst College Archives & Special Collections.
A nearly complete set of The Olio dating back to 1861 is now available online through Amherst College Digital Collections.
Newly found WAMF reel proves to be a possibly unique recording of a lecture by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on "The Summer of Our Discontent."