Chinese Rare Books & Special Collections


Most of the rare books and special collections at Starr East Asian Library are Chinese-language rare books and other materials. Chinese special collections materials at the library include family histories, local histories, individual collected (literary) works, and legal histories. A great number of materials are unique items held nowhere but at Columbia.

Starr East Asian Library's Chinese-language rare books and special materials can be found by searching CLIO.  These materials are largely stored at the Kress Rare Books & Special Collections Reading Room.  To use these materials, you must visit the reading room during the hours it is open.

In recent years, select special collections at Columbia such as Ling Long Women’s Magazine, Guba hua gong diao cha lu (Chinese Laborers in Cuba), and Chinese Paper Gods have been digitized and made available online.

The Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Butler Library also has a substantial collection of Chinese rare books, particularly print leaves of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), of which only a few have been cataloged as of April 2007. Other libraries at Columbia such as Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary and Teachers College Library also hold valuable collections of Chinese-language special materials.

Please direct questions about Chinese rare books and special collections at Columbia to the Chinese Studies Librarian.

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Chengzhi Wang, Ph.D.
Chinese Studies Librarian
307M Kent Hall
(212) 854-3721
cw2165@columbia.edu