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General Information


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. Please consult our Collection Development Policy for more information about our collecting activities.

The history of the Archives is described in the online exhibition Archives & Special Collections Celebrates 150.

Our Location

The Archives and Special Collections is located in the Robert Frost Library on the main campus quadrangle. The reading room, College History Room and exhibition area are located on Level A, at the base of the main lobby stairway. (See a campus map and other information for planning a visit.)


The Archives and Special Collections is open Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., year round. See detailed list of hours and holidays.

Contacting Archives & Special Collections

E-mail Inquiries

Mailing address:
Archives and Special Collections
Robert Frost Library, AC #2256
Amherst, MA 01002-5000


(413) 542-2299
(413) 542-2068

(413) 542-2692


Christina Barber Deputy Archivist
Margaret R. Dakin Archives & Special Collections Specialist 413-542-5391
Rosemary K. J. Davis Samuel French Collection Processing Archivist 413-542-2299
Mike Kelly Head of Archives & Special Collections 413-542-5307
Peter Nelson Archivist 413-542-5394
Mariah Leavitt Archives & Special Collections Specialist 413-542-5393