Introduction & Content
It is the Special Collections at Pequot Library that make this remarkable institution truly unique. These Collections include a vast array of more than 30,000 items and, together, they form an incredibly rich and vibrant portrait of the literary, religious, political, military, musical, and cultural life of America at the time of the Library’s founding. This is one of the most important, concentrated, and impeccably selected set of collections of its kind in the country.
As important as this collection is, it has been put into off-site storage until the Library has space to house it on the premises.
Until then, approximately 2,000 items are on loan to the Beinecke Library at Yale University, and the rest of it is in secure, climate controlled storage at the New England Library Repository in Franklin, Mass. Items from the Special Collections are retrievable from these repositories, but only through the staff at the Library.
Pequot Library’s Special Collections were, essentially, assembled in one concentrated effort in the period around the opening of the Library in 1893. The Special Collections at Pequot Library reverberate with the memory and detailed history of all of New England from the founding of the colonies until after the First World War. The collection includes overviews of the region’s history, down to a detailed history of almost every small town in New England. Taken as a whole, it is one of the fullest collections of New England history in existence and an outstanding resource for genealogical research as well.
These collections root Pequot Library as a truly New England institution. They establish beyond a doubt Pequot’s importance as a regional Library. The Library is one of only a handful of public libraries in the country to have a collection that is both regional in scope and nationally significant in terms of the quality and depth of its holdings.
The Pequot Library Special Collections are about history, but they are about other things as well. They offer an unparalleled insight into the art and history of the book. They are about literature. There are hundreds of editions of most of the great works in the canon of English Literature published during the author’s lifetime and they are a testimony to the extraordinary character of the classics. They are about art and architecture. They are about the beauty and diversity of the natural world around us even as it is disappearing at an alarming rate. Embedded in these collections are other strengths such as an exceptional array of Presidential papers from George Washington to Dwight David Eisenhower.
Access and Guidelines
Pequot Library’s Special Collections are open to everyone, but strict rules apply governing their use. They are available only by appointment. They do not circulate and may be used only with direct supervision of a Library staff member in designated areas of the Library. Access to certain materials may be denied based on condition. Briefcases and bags will be inspected.
In certain cases, photocopies or other digital reproductions may be obtained. This will be provided only by Library staff. No copying in any form by the patron is permissible without prior written authorization.