Special Collections

The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary provides access to rare books, manuscripts, and archives. We welcome use of the materials by faculty, students, and staff of the Union Theological Seminary and Columbia community, and by visiting researchers.



The Burke Library staff is currently able to accomodate Columbia affiliates (including students, faculty, and staff at Union Theological Seminary, Barnard College, and Teachers College) who wish to request in-person appointments to access materials from the special collections. Non-affiliates should read the section titled "Reference Scans" below.

To request an appointment or reference scans, please fill out our Special Collections Request Form. Please note that at least 5 business days' notice is required for processing requests.

On-site visits can only be accommodated Monday-Friday, 11am-1pm or 2pm-4pm (except holidays on the library calendar).

Email burkespecial@library.columbia.edu with any questions.


The Burke Library staff is able to provide a limited number of free low-resolution reference scans to researchers. Those considering this service should rely on archives finding aids and CLIO catalog records to make requests as specific as possible. Condition and type of materials will determine if and what type of scanning is possible, along with the following considerations:

  • Users are limited to 50 images per order, 2 orders per month, and/or 5 orders per semester, depending on request type, staff resources, and scope.

  • Service is subject to available staff and resources, and staff may set time limits on scanning and consultations.

  • Fees for low-resolution reference scans will be waived for all users.

  • For some requests, high-resolution fee-based imaging via Preservation & Digital Conversion may be recommended

  • Requests may take at least 2-4 weeks to fulfill; estimated turnaround times will be provided for each order.

  • Priority will be given to requests from current Columbia users (including current faculty, students, and staff, at Columbia, Barnard, Union Theological Seminary, and Teachers College). Requests placed by non-Columbia affiliates will be placed in a queue and processed as staff availability permits.


Find more information and details about the following Special Collections at the Burke Library:

Reprography and Copyright

Information concerning copyright, fair use, and reproduction requests can be consulted at Columbia's Copyright Advisory Office.

Digitization and copying services can be found through the Preservation & Digital Conversion Division.