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Rare Books at MIT

Experimenta nova, 1672
Otto von Guericke. Experimenta nova. 1672.

MIT is home to thousands of rare books, from the 1493 Nuremberg Chronicle to a first edition of Whitman's Leaves of Grass. Electricity, telegraphy, magnetism, popular science – even witchcraft and mesmerism – are among the topics covered in MIT's rare collections.

Our Kelly Collection contains a book of political essays autographed by George Washington. We have the personal library of MIT's founder, William Barton Rogers, including his own copy of Newton's Principia. The Vail Collection consists of 16,000 items including William Gilbert's De Magnete, scientific classics by Peregrinus, Boyle, and Guericke, and volumes inscribed by such giants as Davy, Faraday, Maxwell, and Babbage.

Numerous classes visit each year to work with our rare books and manuscripts. MIT students, faculty, and staff are welcome to explore our collections, as are researchers from around the world.

Preview our holdings online by visiting the Vail Collection or the Maihaugen Gallery. Or visit 150 Years in the Stacks, our book-centered celebration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of MIT.

 


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