Cornell's Rare and Manuscript Collections in Kroch Library

Rare and Manuscript Collections in Kroch Library
The Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections (RMC) includes the University Archives and the Human Sexuality, Hip Hop, History of Science, Icelandic, and Witchcraft collections among other significant strengths. RMC is Cornell's principal repository of rare books, manuscripts and archival materials in history, literature, music, the arts, science, natural history, and technology. The rare books from Cornell's distinguished Asia collections and the Hotel school's historic cookbook collection can also be found in RMC.

While the Library is closed, you can search for information about these collections using the Library Catalog. If a more detailed description is available, the catalog record will link to it, or you can browse the detailed finding aids here. During the Library closure, reference staff are working remotely and welcome your questions about RMC's collections and possible future visits. Email

When the Library re-opens, see the Rare and Manuscript Collections guide for everything you need to know about how to visit and do research in RMC.

RMC's online exhibitions

Online exhibitions feature individual items from within our vast collections that curators have decided to highlight and present in a particular context. They provide useful windows into our collections and can be particularly valuable in a classroom context.

Ithaca High School teachers collaborated with us to create the exhibition "Paper, Leather, Clay, & Stone," which remains an excellent introduction to what primary sources can illuminate for us.

Click here to see all other available RMC Online Exhibitions, those created specifically for online presentation as well as versions of our gallery exhibitions. 

RMC's digital collections

In addition to its physical vaults of tangible historic materials, Rare and Manuscript Collections (RMC) in Kroch Library acquires, preserves, and makes accessible materials created online, what we call "born digital." A premier collection in this format is the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art. Designed as an experimental center of research and creativity, the Goldsen Archive includes digital art created by independent artists across the globe.

Wavy colors in the background. Text reads "TV TART"

Image from Barbara Hammer's TV TART, 1969, in Experimental Television Center collection. Rose Goldsen Archive.

Cornell University Library (CUL) also has an ambitious program to digitize many of its own collections. The completed projects within CUL Digital Collections span many subjects. Many of the materials come from the diverse holdings of RMC. In addition to the focused subject collections, you will find many valuable online images here:

Online images from RMC. Access to over 11,000 images from RMC collections, across its many subjects and including photographs, text, pin-back buttons, and other formats. Free download of images where copyright allows, many in high resolution.


"Cornell" in Hebrew letters

Cornell in Hebrew letters. Cornell Hillel records, #39-8-2998. Box 1. RMC2006_0067.

Archival Primary Sources Beyond Cornell

Digital Public Library of America

The DPLA is a good single portal to search for open access sources from archives across the United States. Especially helpful for educators preparing to teach remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak, DPLA also provides primary source sets, and among its online exhibitions is America during the 1918 Influenza Pandemic.

Archive finder
Brings together ArchivesUSA and the cumulative index to the National Inventory of Documentary Sources in the UK and Ireland (NIDS UK/Ireland).

A database of primary source materials held in US archives, libraries, museums and historical societies.