Rare Book & Manuscript Library


In order to use the collections, all visitors to the Rare Book & Manuscript Library are required to create a Special Collections Research Account. Registering as a special collections user also allows you to request materials online before your visit.


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The Columbia University Libraries online catalogue is a primary tool for locating RBML materials.

Archival Collections Portal

This portal provides access to records of archival collections at Columbia University Libraries, including finding aids, collection descriptions and available digital content, such as online exhibits and images.

Oral History Portal

Use this portal to explore the collections of the Columbia Center for Oral History (CCOH) Archives at RBML.


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Current Exhibitions

Enchanted Vision: The Arthur Rackham Collection

"Remaking the World: Columbians & the 1919 Paris Peace Conference"

Now through July 19, 2019
Kempner Gallery

The Paris Peace Conference, also known as the Versailles Peace Conference, opened on January 18, 1919, ran through July 1923, although the senior officials left the Conference in June of 1919. RBML holds the papers of significant people and organizations in attendance. Materials on display include selections from the papers of James T. Shotwell, historian of the American delegation and author of the day-to-day account “At the Paris Peace Conference;” the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1910, with Columbia President Nicholas Murray Butler serving on the board of directors from 1910 until 1945; Charles Richard Crane, appointed to the American delegation by Woodrow Wilson and co-author of the King-Crane Commission on the post-war future of the Middle East; and Wellington Koo, Columbia Class of 1908 and PhD (1912), a member of the Chinese delegation to the Peace Conference, China’s first delegate to the League of Nations, and one of the founding delegates to the United Nations.


Ilia Zdanevich: The Tbilisi Years
Now through July 12, 2019
Chang Octagon

Tbilisi, Zdanevich’s hometown, became a “fantastic” haven for artists of all stripes during the Russian Civil War. In this multi-lingual environment where feuds among artistic schools had been suspended, Zdanevich worked out the principles of “mature” zaum and a corresponding approach to book design. This exhibition, curated by Thomas J. Kitson, begins before the First World War with Zdanevich’s apprenticeship as a propagandist for the Larionov group in competition with Futurist rivals and proceeds through masterworks he designed and typeset as a founding member of 41°. We include a selection of works by his brother and collaborator, Kirill, and a display of interconnected items associated with other poets, composers, and visual artists who frequented the Fantastic Tavern, center of Tbilisi artistic life between 1917 and 1920. The exhibition is part of “Displacement and Display: The Ongoing Revolutions of Ilia Zdanevich,” a Global Humanities project led by Professor Valentina Izmirlieva (Slavic Department) and sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Humanities at Columbia University.