About the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library
Already among the nation’s fastest-growing special collections libraries, the Rose Library is poised to become an even stronger interdisciplinary center that brings important and provocative collections to life for a broad, diverse audience.
As a division of the Emory Libraries, the Rose Library serves the Emory University campus and members of the Atlanta community, as well as visiting researchers from all over the world. The Rose Library provides services for processing and cataloging collection materials, and for research, teaching, and learning with Rose collections. It also offers exhibits and public programming to engage the campus, local, and research communities.
Staff and Facilities
The Rose Library is supported by a staff of 22, comprising teams for administration, curatorial, collection services, research services, and university archives. Rose staff also work closely with other library departments, including campus and community relations, library technologies, preservation, digitization, and health sciences, among others.
The Rose Library occupies the top floors of the Robert W. Woodruff Library in the heart of the Emory campus. In 2015, it was renamed for donor and noted book collector Stuart A. Rose and underwent a major renovation to expand and transform its physical space. Its modern facilities mirror the quality ofthe collections it houses, reflecting the library’s world-renowned stature and its importance to the university’s mission.
Its features include:
- An expansive reading room to serve a wide range of researchers in a serene environment
- An adjoining folio room with space and technology to accommodate researchers using oversized materials, groups reviewing the collections, and those accessing digital archives
- Seminar and meeting spaces for group research, instruction, and consultation to support research and teaching with the library’s collections
- Enhanced exhibition space to showcase the impressive contents of the collections and highlight how they can be used as primary sources
- A dedicated, technologically advanced teaching and learning studio to enable groups of Emory students and scholars to use and discuss materials from the collections
- Panoramic views of the Emory campus and the Atlanta skyline through floor-to-ceiling windows
- Renovated offices, workspace for collections management, a digital archives lab, and secure processing and storage space
Holding about 150,000 volumes of rare books and serials dating from the 13th century to the present, the Rose Library’s rare books collection covers a wide range of subjects-from religious texts to anatomical engravings to avant-garde poetry.
Some of the library’s featured collecting areas include early-modern British literature, Belgian imprints, French Revolution pamphlets, Southern imprints, Victorian popular literature known as Yellowbacks, book arts items, and distinctive African American works. In addition, the Rose Library is home to the personal libraries of notable writers, scholars, collectors, and presses, along with classic first editions of beloved works of literature.
These books complement the library’s manuscript collections with notable editions, inscribed and signed copies, and adaptations from authors and artists whose papers are held here.
Particularly strong in modern and contemporary literature, the Rose Library’s literary collections include the papers of:
- Former Poet Laureate of Great Britain Ted Hughes
- Nobel Prize-winner Seamus Heaney
- Booker Prize-winner Salman Rushdie
- Pulitzer Prize-winner Alice Walker
- Iconic Southern writer Flannery O’Connor
- Two-term U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey
- British Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy
- Pulitzer Prize-winner Paul Muldoon
- Pulitzer Prize-winner Anthony Hecht
Known for strong Irish holdings (what one writer called “an Irish village at Emory”) and for Southern and African American writing, the literary collection spans from the 18th century to the present day.
Raymond Danowski Poetry Library
Consisting of an astonishing 75,000-volume collection of rare and first editions of modern and contemporary poetry, the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library was assembled by collector Raymond Danowski over 25 years. The collection is thought to have been the largest poetry library in private hands until its arrival at Emory in 2004. The numerous rare books, chapbooks, little magazines, journals, broadsides, audio recordings, manuscripts, ephemera, and visual art in the collection come from the United States, Britain, Ireland, Australia, India, Canada, Scotland, and South Africa. Remarkable for its range and depth, the library represents Raymond Danowski’s desire to gather every book of poetry published in English.
Highlights of the collection include:
- First edition and earliest-known signed copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, printed by its author and published July 4, 1855
- First edition of T. S. Eliot’s Prufrock and Other Observations (1917), inscribed to his close friend Emily Hale
- Limited editions by Langston Hughes, with corrections in his own hand
- Anne Sexton’s personal, heavily annotated copy of Sylvia Plath’s Ariel (1965)
- Individual author collections, notable for their breadth and depth, including W. H. Auden, Gwendolyn Brooks, Charles Bukowski, Allen Ginsberg, and William Carlos Williams
African American History and Culture
African American collections in the Rose Library embrace political and social movements, literature and the arts, and sports. They document expatriate performers Josephine Baker and Bricktop, baseball great Hank Aaron, civil rights leader C. T. Vivian, historian Carter G. Woodson, Harlem Renaissance writer Langston Hughes, and dozens of others. Significant holdings include the Southern Christian Leadership Conference records and the Robert Langmuir African American Photograph Collection. The printed materials, photographs, correspondence, and ephemera include a 1773 signed first edition of Phillis Wheatley’s book of poems. This collection also maintains the personal libraries of artists/scholars/ filmmakers Camille Billops and James V. Hatch.
The library focuses on six principal collecting areas:
- Civil rights and post-civil rights movements
- Black print culture
- African American literature and the arts
- Expatriate literary and cultural figures
- African Americans and sports
Such collections make Emory’s holdings distinctive and attractive to scholars and students seeking rare and unique materials. From the many gifts of the Camille Billops-James V. Hatch archive to the papers of Charles and Ruth Wood, African American collections are a growing, popular, innovative, and vital pillar in the Rose Library.
Modern Political and Historical Collections
The Rose Library’s modern political and historical collections document the history, culture, and politics of Atlanta, Georgia, and the South. That story emerges from distinctive primary source materials, including firsthand accounts of the 1864 fall of Atlanta; the fight to pass the Equal Rights Amendment in Georgia; the civil rights movement; the struggle to desegregate schools; the influence of politicians, business leaders, philanthropists, and journalists; and the history, culture, politics, and public health initiatives of the LGBT community. Highlights include:
- Papers of United States Senator Sam Nunn
- Records of the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center
- Papers of Robert W. Woodruff, former president of The Coca-Cola Company
- Collections about golf great Bobby Jones
- Papers of Jesse R. Peel, Atlanta physician and AIDS activist
These collections explore Atlanta’s transformation from a town of 89,000 people in 1900 to a regional metropolis of more than 6 million residents in 2010. Together the materials tell the story of the region’s move from the margins to the forefront of American life.
Emory University Archives
The Emory University Archives contain records and special material that document the origins, history, development, activities, and achievements of Emory University and affiliated organizations. These materials enhance the library’s teaching and research mission by making records about Emory’s history and development available to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the public. The archives support university advancement by providing a permanent repository for records of administrative value.
The archives also feature the papers of faculty and administrators who are influential in the history of the university. Some individuals represented in the collection are James T. Laney, the 17th president who served during the formative period from 1977 to 1993; Henry L. Bowden, trustee and legal counsel for the university during racial desegregation at Emory; and Judson C. Ward, a beloved member of the Emory community for 80 years-as student, teacher, dean, donor, and friend.
Research and Instructional Programs
The Rose Library supports researchers in its reading room, provides reference assistance for remote users, partners with faculty to plan class assignments using Rose collections in teaching, and reaches out to local school and community groups to introduce them to special collections.
Each year the Rose Library welcome more than 1,000 researchers to explore its collections for scholarly and personal pursuits. Approximately 50% of users come from outside of the Emory community. For those unable to travel to campus, the library offers remote reference and reproduction services.
Rose Library has a robust and growing instruction program. In 2016-2017, it facilitated 128 class sessions from across Emory University departments (including Oxford College), engaging 1,516 students with its collections in a classroom setting. Thirty-five of those classes had assignments using Rose materials. Rose staff members support the Archives Research Program, an ongoing initiative for graduate students. The instruction team also contributes to the Quality Enhancement Plan, an ongoing Emory initiative for undergraduate students.
Exhibitions, Programming, and Partnerships
Outreach activities connect visitors who are not conducting research or attending a class in Rose, but may be engaged through an exhibition, special program or other activities. The Rose Library offers K-12 programs, tours, exhibits and public programming to share and connect with the campus, local, and research communities.
A thriving exhibitions program helps promote the Rose Library’s holdings within its own spaces and in the prominent Schatten Gallery, where major offerings, such as the current Beat poetry-related “Dream Machine” exhibition, attract hundreds of visitors.
Last year the Rose Library showcased materials in 20 campus exhibitions and loaned materials for 11 exhibits at other institutions nationwide, including The Coca-Cola Company and the Brooklyn Museum. Programming for the Rose Library’s recent exhibition, “Still Raising Hell,” took place on and off campus to encourage new visitors and more dynamic engagement.
The Rose Library hosts a full roster of speakers, author readings and other public programs. Highlights including appearances by poet laureates Rita Dove, Juan Felipe Herrera and Natasha Trethewey, Nobel Prize-winner Seamus Heaney, noted novelists Salman Rushdie and Alice Walker, and former President Jimmy Carter.
Partnerships across the Emory campus and broader community have enabled the Rose Library to further extend its reach and connect with even broader audiences. A recent campus initiative with Emory’s Carlos Museum resulted in a collaborative exhibition of one of Shakespeare’s First Folios. Other notable collaborators include the AJC Decatur Book Festival, which has brought keynote speakers such as Civil Rights legend John Lewis and novelist Joyce Carol Oates to the Emory campus.
Publications and Media Coverage
In addition to print materials that highlight specific collections, the Rose Library publishes an annual magazine that is circulated to more than 4,000 readers and has won multiple awards from the American Library Association, CASE, and other professional organizations.
The Rose Library also promotes its work and shares information through its web site and with social media engagement. Press releases about its programming, exhibitions and significant new acquisitions are posted online, shared with Emory University news outlets and circulated to local, national and international media. Its holdings have generated major coverage in the New York Times, National Public Radio, and other prominent outlets.