Rare & Unique Books

The Rare and Unique Books Collections includes examples of fine printing; works produced by outstanding presses; signed and/or limited editions; fine arts books or portfolios with plates; works published before 1800; works of historical value; works with unusual format, physical condition, or content; and rare, unique, fragile, or irreplaceable works.

With approximately 8,000 books (750 linear feet), some other notable items include: a copy of The Kelmscott Chaucer (1896); a collection of Upton Sinclair pamphlets, brochures and memorabilia, primarily concerning his unsuccessful bid for Governor of California in 1934; a 1783 edition of Reales ordenanzas para la dirección régimen y gobierno del importante Cuerpo de la Mineraría de Nueva-España; and a twelve-volume set of Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Atlanticus.

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Rare Books
One of our largest collecting areas, Mesoamerican books and codices.

Arthur M. Applebaum Collection of Theater Plays

Arthur M. Applebaum, entertainment and corporate attorney, made five contributions of theater-related books to the University, many of which were added to the regular circulating collection. The Arthur M. Applebaum Theater Arts Collection consists of approximately 150 linear feet of published plays (books).

John K. Pollard Collection of Children's Books

The Pollard Collection of Children's Books, donated in 1967 by biochemist John K. Pollard, is comprised of works by American and English authors of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Notable authors include Horatio Alger, Victor Appleton, William Baker, Gerald Breckenridge, Thorton Burgess, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Allen Chapman, Elmer Dawson, Fremont Deering, J. W. Duffield, Leo Edwards, Edward Ellis, Percy Fitzhugh, Howard Garis, Lillian Garis, Zane Grey, H. Irving Hancock, William Heyliger, Laura Lee Hope, Howard Payson and Harold Sherman. All are first or limited editions. The collection totals approximately 2,650 titles, or 91 linear feet.

the motor boys across the plains
Selected works from the Pollard Collection of Children’s Books

Mesoamerica and Colonial Mexico

The Mesoamerica and Colonial Mexico Rare Book Collection is comprised of three collections: Ruwet, Glass, and Nicholson. The three collections account for approximately 7,000 books and documents that include the papers and research works of three donors. The collection is divided into three large groups: The Mesoamerican, the Colonial, and the Independent periods that form the sequence of the history of Mexico from the 16th to the 20th century. The collection includes facsimile editions of Pre-Columbian Codices, such as the Borgia, Nuttall, Fejervary-Mayer, Vaticanus A and B, Selden, Borbonicus, Boturini, Mendoza, De la Cruz-Badiano, and Florentine Codex. Some editions are accompanied by analysis and annotations by 19th and 20th-century scholars such as Alfredo Chavero, Francisco del Paso Y Troncoso, Eduard Seler, and Jose Fernando Ramirez, among others.

Mesoamerican Codex
Detailed look at a codex from the Mesoamerican Rare Book collection

Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA Exhibition Catalog Collection

An exhibition catalog is a work published to document a presentation of artwork and includes a list of works shown. It may also contain illustrations, introductory essays, analyses of works of art, biographical information on the artists, etc.

Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA was a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles. Led by the Getty, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA was a collaborative effort with arts institutions from across Southern California.

View the Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA Exhibition Catalog Collection

Perry R. Long Collection of Books on Printing & Graphic Design

Perry Robert Long was a printer with a distinguished national reputation. In 1959, the University Library at Cal State LA was selected by a committee to receive Mr. Long's collection of books on printing and graphic design consisting of approximately 3,000 titles, or 360 linear feet, of rare and beautiful books of, and about, fine printing. It is one of the largest collections of typographica on the West Coast. It includes works on the art and science of typography, paper making and color printing, graphic design, book binding, printer's manuals, and histories, as well as ephemera, keepsakes, announcements, broadsides, and other examples of fine printing.

The collection also includes a rare Washington handpress. It was manufactured in the United States between 1821 and 1910, by Paul Shniedewend. It was presented to the University in memory of Gordon J. Holmquist in 1966.

Perry R. Long Collection of Books on Printing & Graphic Design
Detail of The Art and Practice of Typography: A Manual of American Printing by Edmund G. Gress, 1917