Finding the “World’s Rarest Books”

As reported in Newsline, a number of books included in the DePaul University Library Department of Special Collections and Archives have been recognized as part of an international project on the “world’s rarest books.”

Oratoriae partitiones
This 1539 edition of Cicero is the only known copy held by a library in the world. (Photo credit: DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)

Preserving the World’s Rarest Books is a project housed at the University of St. Andrews and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. As part of this program, we discovered that DePaul’s collections include several books that exist in 5, or fewer, copies in libraries around the world, including Oratoriae partitiones (The Divisions of Oratory), published in Paris in 1539.

The DePaul University Library is well-known for the strength of its Vincentian Studies collections, and for the strength of its special collections instruction program, which promotes the use of rare books, manuscripts, archives, and other primary source materials across the curriculum. Inclusion in the St. Andrews project ensures that even more scholars and researchers will know about the many “gems” in our special collections, and will promote broader use of distinctive collections at DePaul University.

A gallery of images from our rarest books is available on Newsline.

These works and other rare materials are always available to researchers by visiting Special Collections and Archives in room 314 of the John T. Richardson Library, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  If you would like to know more about rare books at DePaul, please contact Nora Gabor, Rare Books Librarian.

2 Replies to “Finding the “World’s Rarest Books””

  1. Please thank Renata for the coordinating she did with Pat (maybe Morgen will remember his last name) whodid the contract cataloging for the rare books so they could be discovered!

    1. Hi Kathryn. I’ll pass along the message! Megan probably will remember. So many wonderful people doing excellent work across the years. Good hearing from you, as always!

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