University of South Carolina, Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections

AccessAble Books, Print-on-Demand by USC Press

The University of South Carolina Press and the University of South Carolina Libraries are pleased to announce the launch of AccessAble Books. Titles published under this joint imprint are selected from the diverse collections of the Thomas Cooper Library and the South Caroliniana Library as a means to republish important out-of-print volumes of scholarship and […]


Angelica Singleton Van Buren Collection

Sarah Angelica Singleton was born in Wedgefield, South Carolina in 1818, the daughter of prominent South Carolina plantation owner, Richard Singleton, and his wife Rebecca Travis Coles. In 1838, Angelica would marry Abraham Van Buren, son of the 8th President of the United States, Martin Van Buren. During her father-in-law’s term of office, Angelica would […]


Braun and Hogenberg Collection

The John and Mary Osman Braun and Hogenberg Collection contains a variety of maps from the late 16th and early 17th centuries, primarily from the Civitates Orbis Terrarum (Cities of the World) by Georg Braun and Franz Hogenberg. The Civitates is considered one of the first modern atlases and it captures an exciting glimpse into the past through the […]


Camilla Urso Collection

Camilla Urso was one of the leading violinists of the 19th century. She accomplished this at a time when the violin was not considered to be a suitable instrument for a woman to play. Furthermore, she made the difficult transition from child prodigy to mature artist with a career that spanned more than fifty years […]


Development of the Printed Page

The images in this collection have been created from a portfolio of book and manuscript leaves that was compiled and sold by The Society of Foliophiles in 1964. The collection was released in an edition of 20 sets that each contained 135 examples, and was titled “The History of the Written Word.” By using actual […]


E.D.E.N. Southworth Collection

During the second half of the nineteenth century, novelist Emma Dorothy Eliza Nevitte (E.D.E.N.) Southworth was one of the most popular writers in America, being read as widely in the United States and England as Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe. The E.D.E.N. Southworth Collection, an initiative of the Digital U.S. South project of the […]




History of Education in America

This collection of textbooks and printed works on nineteenth century American education had its impetus in a request from our colleague, Professor Susan Schramm-Pate, of the College of Education here at the University of South Carolina. She was interested in supplementing the core group of texts for her doctoral seminar “Curriculum Classics: Trends and Issues” […]


Humbolt’s Atlas of Latin America, 1799 -1804

The German scientist Alexander von Humboldt and his expedition partner, botanist Aimé Bonpland, traveled through Central and South America between 1799 and 1804. Under a Spanish warrant, they explored the Orinoco in Venezuela, surveyed and gathered plant and animal specimens, and studied the geology and mineralogy of Colombia, Peru, and Mexico. They climbed Chimborazo, the […]



Joel Myerson Collection of Nineteenth -Century American Manuscripts, Images and Ephemera

The Joel Myerson Collection of Nineteenth-Century American Manuscripts, Images, and Ephemera is a part of the larger Joel Myerson Collection of Nineteenth-Century American Literature. The collection contains letters, manuscripts, cabinet cards, cartes de visite, and a variety of other ephemeral material relating to nineteenth-century American authors, especially those associated with the Transcendentalist movement. The bulk […]


Joseph M. Bruccoli Great War Collection: Postcards

Postcards were a popular and inexpensive means of keeping in touch during the Great War. In addition, they boosted morale, encouraged patriotism, and served as an important propaganda tool. Designs included national themes, political cartoons, patriotic imagery, and humorous and sentimental messages. Photographic postcards depicted every aspect of the war from soldiers training to battlefield […]





Literary Annuals

The illustrated annual giftbook is one of the most distinctive publishing genres on both sides of the Atlantic, from the mid-1820s through to the 1850s. In 1823, the British published Rudolph Ackerman issued what is usually recognized as the first annual, the Forget-Me-Not, an almanac with poems and engravings, issued in a small format in […]



Menu Project

The Menu Project is the beginning of a community wide effort to record the contemporary culinary history of the Southeast, in particular that of South Carolina. This collection has been created from donations of menus from local citizens and will continue to grow over the years. While the majority of the menus come from the southeast, […]


Phillis Wheatley’s Poems on various subjects, religious and moral

The poems of Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784) are read and studied by students and scholars in a variety of disciplines (American literature, African-American Studies, African Studies, and Women’s Studies), but the first edition has not previously been freely accessible in a digital facsimile without a fee or subscription. Wheatley’s Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral […]



Robert B. Ariail Collection of Historical Astronomy

In 2011 Robert B. Ariail donated an extraordinary collection of historical astronomy to the University of South Carolina and the South Carolina State Museum. Over the past half-century, Mr. Ariail built a collection that encompassed both historic telescopes and astronomical instruments, now at the State Museum, and more than 5,000 rare books and other published […]




Scottish Literature Digital Projects

The University of South Carolina libraries have been acquiring works by Scottish authors since the early nineteenth century. With the addition of the extensive G. Ross Roy Collection in 1989, South Carolina now has major research holdings across a wide range of Scottish writing. Indeed, in the words of one recent visitor, it is “the […]



The Alphabet Rendered Instructive and Entertaining

This beautifully illustrated alphabet book, published in 1775, is an excellent example of early children’s literature from the eighteenth century. Produced by copperplate engraving, the book originally sold plain at 9d. (9 pence) or hand-colored at 1s6d (1 shilling, 6 pence). Published by William Tringham of London, this copy was probably sold plain and colored […]


The Delbert Claire Brandt Collection

This collection contains 32 letters and postcards to and from Delbert Claire Brandt (Claire Brandt), a young man from Sharon, Pennsylvania who served with the 1st Cavalry in World War I, was wounded, and died on November 16, 1918. The letters were written between May 1918 and November 1918. Most of the letters are from […]


Topical Sketches by Douglas G. Ward

This World War I soldier’s sketchbook is the mark of Cpl. Douglas G. Ward, an otherwise unknown British soldier-artist. Douglas G. Ward entered the military and trained at Catterick Camp, the infantry training center and was assigned to the 7th Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment which was part of the 33rd Brigade, 11th (Northern) Division, landing […]


Tycho Brahe’s Instruments in the Blaeu Grande Atlas

In the late 16th century, the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) established two observatories on the island of Hven, near Copenhagen.  This section from Jean Blaeu’s Grande Atlas, from the French version issued in 1663, describes and illustrates Brahe’s astronomical instruments. Blaeu’shandcolored copper-plate engravings were revised from wood-cuts originally published in Brahe’s own Astronomiae Instauratiae […]



World War I Letters of Samuel Bloom

Samuel Bloom (1895-1976), a first-generation Ukrainian immigrant and recent City College graduate, served as private first class and signaler with Company L, 325th Infantry Battalion, US Army, from October 1917 till July 1919. In April 1918, he went with his company to France, training behind the Somme front, and then going to signal school, before […]