Mills College Special Collections and Archives is comprised of about 20,000 volumes, 10,000 manuscripts, archives, and photographs housed in the Elinor Raas Heller Rare Book Room. The collection includes printed books from the 15th century to the present, as well as the Mills College Collection. It is also the home to the Mills College Center for the Book, a forum for cultural, literary, and aesthetic heritage of the book. Browse Mills College Special Collections online.
A collection of books (approximately 5,600) with strengths in literature, poetry, bibliography, book and printing history, fine press editions, art, and items pertaining to the San Francisco Bay Area. This is the largest and most general book collection.
Special Collections also has a similarly named archival collection, the Albert M. Bender Papers.
(call number = Coll.)
This collection consists of approximately 250 examples of different types of bindings, illustrating technical, artistic, and historical features. Includes some unique bindings by important bookbinders such as Rose Adler, Paul Bonet, and Henri Creuzevault.
(call number = binding)
This collection consists of over 1,000 books printed from the mid-15th century until about 1800. There are over twenty incunables (books printed during the first 50 years of printing), including a leaf from the 42-line Bible probably printed by Johann Gutenberg in Mainz, Germany. This is considered to be the first book-length work printed by means of movable metal type in the western world. Other early printers represented in the collection are Johann Fust and Peter Schöffer, Wendelin and Johann de Spira (the first printers to work in Venice), Erhard Ratdolt, Anton Koberger, and Aldus Manutius. Other important works include a Florentine edition of Dante’s La divina commedia with commentary by Landino, hand-colored engravings after Botticelli, and illumination (1481); the corrected 2nd issue of the King James Bible, the “she” Bible (1611); John Gerard’s The herball, or, Generall historie of plantes (1633 edition); Martin Luther’s translation of the Bible (1539); the first folio of William Shakespeare’s Comedies, histories, & tragedies (1623); Pierre Simon Fournier’s Manuel typographique (1664–1766); the Geneva quarto edition of Diderot and D’Alembert’s Encyclopedie.... (1778–1779); and several 18th-century works printed by John Baskerville, the Didot family, and Giambattista Bodoni.
(call number = earlyprinted)
The Fine Press Collection consists of fine and private press, limited edition, and artists’ books, including examples of unique books, and ephemera. Books are generally shelved by press or printer name. The collection is especially strong in books written or made by women and local artists. Fine press bibliographies, exhibition catalogues for fine press printers, book artists, the book arts, and printing history are well represented. The collection includes books and broadsides by students from the Mills College Book Art Program.
Highlights of this collection include books from the Kelmscott Press printed by the father of the Arts and Crafts Movement, William Morris (1834–96) in the late nineteenth century. The Kelmscott Press produced fifty-three books from 1891 to 1898. The Fine Press Collection contains 36 Kelmscott Press books, including the masterpiece of the Press:The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, designed by Morris and illustrated by his friend and colleague, Edward Burne-Jones, issued on June 26, 1893 in an edition of 438 copies.
The Fine Press Collection also has an outstanding group of books and ephemera printed by Claire Van Vliet at the Janus Press in West Burke, Vermont (founded in 1955).
Local presses and printers represented include Arion Press (Andrew Hoyem), Book Club of California, Colt Press (Jane Grabhorn), Flying Fish Press (Julie Chen), Grabhorn Press, Peter Rutledge Koch, John Henry Nash, Pacific Editions (Charles Hobson), Poltroon Press, Rather Press, and Adrian and Joyce Wilson, among many others.
The Fine Press Collection includes a comprehensive collection of Eucalyptus Press books and ephemera. Rosalind Keep founded the Eucalyptus Press at Mills College in 1932. The press was an integral part of the rich tradition of fine press printing in the San Francisco Bay Area that continues today. Materials are still being printed under this imprint under the auspices of the Book Art Program.
(call number = P [press name])
A subject collection consisting of approximately 100 books about or by Shakespeare, including Shakespeare’s source material. The collection contains a number of British histories, as well as Edward Hall’s The union of the two noble and illustre famelies of Lancastre & Yorke…, also known as Halle’s Chronicle (London, 1548).
Special Collections also owns a copy of the first folio of William Shakespeare’s Comedies, histories, & tragedies (1623), part of the Early Printed Books collection.
Special Collections also has a similarly named archival collection, the Elias Olan James Papers.
(call number = James)
Historical examples (starting in the 18th century) and first editions of children’s books, with a strength in illustrated books and books about pigs. This collection of almost 1,000 books is comprised of both fiction and non-fiction and includes pop-up books, alphabet books, picture books, and periodicals for children such as The Girl’s Own Annual and St. Nicholas. Illustrators represented include Kay Nielson, Valenti Angelo, Edmund Dulac, Kate Greenaway, Arthur Rackham, and Beatrix Potter, among others.
(call number =juv)
This is a comprehensive subject collection of 450 books and other materials on the history of ballet and modern dance and allied subjects. In addition to the book collection, there is a subject file of articles and clippings.
The collection includes early books on dance such as Fabritio Caroso’s Il Ballarino (Venice, 1581), Thoinot Arbeau’s Orchesographie (Lengres, 1588), and Cesare Negri’s Le Gratie d’Amore (Milan, 1602). There are a number of 20th century illustrated limited edition books such as The Designs of Léon Bakst for The Sleeping Princess (London, 1923), George Barbier’s Designs on the Dances of Vaslav Nijinsky (London, 1913), and Arnold Genthe’s The Book of the Dance (Boston, 1920).
Other collections of interest are the Dance Department archives in the Mills College Collection, the Marian Van Tuyl Papers, the Molissa Fenley Papers, and the Darius Milhaud Collection.
There are two publications associated with this collection both available in the F.W. Olin Library:
The Jane Bourne Parton Collection of Books on the Dance: A Selected Bibliography. Compiled by Flora Elizabeth Reynolds. Oakland: The Eucalyptus Press, 1977. P Eucalyptus (Special Collections)
Roatcap, Adela Spindler. The Book of the Dance in the 20th Century: Selections from the Jane Bourne Parton Collection of Books on the Dance. Exhibition catalog. Oakland: Mills College Library, 1984. 792.8016 R682b 1984 oversize
(call number = Parton)
This is a subject collection of about 325 books, journals, and ephemera on topics pertaining to women, with a strength in women’s suffrage, birth control, and social issues. Items of interest include leaflets on suffrage, etiquette and domestic manuals, and a first edition of the six volume The History of Women Suffrage, edited by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage, published by the notorious phrenologists Fowler & Wells (New York, 1881–1922).
The Library also has the similarly named Aurelia Henry Reinhardt Papers which is the archive of Reinhardt’s presidency at Mills College.
(call number = Reinhardt)
Dr. Arturo Torres-Rioseco (1897–1971) was a Chilean poet, scholar, translator, historian, and diplomat who taught extensively in the United States and Latin America. He was full professor of Spanish American Literature at UC Berkeley (1936–1969), professor of summer sessions at Columbia University, University of Mexico, University of Guatemala, Stanford University, Duke University, and Mills College. Dr. Torres-Rioseco worked closely with Mills College’s Casa Panamericana Program and its School of International Relations in the 1940’s. In 1961, he was appointed by John F. Kennedy as a member of the Advisory Committee on Latin American Relations. He also wrote several books of poetry, translated the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, and wrote a book on Gabriela Mistral.
After Dr. Torres-Rioseco’s death his wife, Rosalie Godt Torres-Rioseco, began to donate books and manuscripts, including letters, non-fiction, poetry, novels, and journals from Arturo Torres-Rioseco’s private collection to the Special Collections Department of the F.W. Olin Library, Mills College. This department now houses the Arturo Torres-Rioseco Collection, consisting of over 400 volumes of literature of major 20th century Latin American poets and writers, as well as correspondence from political and literary figures.
The Collection contains works by Jorge Luis Borges, Arturo Capdevilla, Jorge Carrera Andrade, Joaquin Edwards Bello, Manuel Gálvez, Gabriela Mistral, and many others. Most of these books are in their original wrappers, many with beautifully designed pictorial covers, and most are inscribed by the authors to Arturo Torres-Rioseco. There is also a run of the influential Spanish Loyalist magazine Hora de Espana, (Jan. 1937–Sept. 1938) with poetry and prose, contemporary accounts, and military affairs. Authors include: Rafael Dieste, Pablo Neruda, Manuel Altolaquirre, Antonio Sanchez Barbudo, and others.
Letters to Arturo Torres-Rioseco from several major Latin American writers and political figures, such as Gabriela Mistral, Juan José Arévalo (President of Guatemala), Camilo José Cela, Manuel Gálvez, Cecília Meireles, and others are housed within the General Manuscripts Collection in the Special Collections Department.
A selection of letters to Arturo Torres-Rioseco has been published in a book entitled Literary and Cultural Journeys: Selected Letters to Arturo Torres-Rioseco, edited by Professor Carlota Caulfield and Professor Miguel Angel Zapata and published by Mills College Center for the Book (1995). This book is available in the F. W. Olin Libraryand from the Center for the Book.
(call number =Torres-Rioseco)
This is a subject collection of over 300 books and journals on bookbinding and paper. Books include surveys on the history and technique of bookbinding, studies of individual bookbinders, and exhibition and auction catalogs. Also present are many of Dard Hunter’s books on papermaking, specimen books of Japanese paper (washi), marbled and other decorative papers, and a run of Bookbinding and Book Production (1938–1952) and The New Bookbinder (1981–present).
(call number = Walter)
A collection of almost 700 books printed at the West Coast Print Center (Berkeley, California) from the 1960s–1990s; rich in poetry and literature. Many of the books are volumes of poetry from the 1970s that were funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.
(call number =West Coast Print Center)
This collection includes publications issued by the College, publications about the College, and records and documentation created in the operation of the College. The collection chronicles the history of the College and consists of both primary and secondary sources. Formats include books, pamphlets, manuscripts, photographs, scrapbooks, ephemera, videos, audio recordings, etc.
Other publications include the undergraduate and graduate catalogs; the Campanil, the Mills Quarterly, the Walrus, and the yearbook; various newsletters; promotional material; announcements of events sponsored by departments; organizations, etc.; publications related to commencement and other ceremonial occasions; publications related to specific buildings, including some blueprints; etc.
Related collections include masters’ theses, faculty publications, alumnae publications, and papers of individuals (e.g., Aurelia Henry Reinhardt Papers). Please contact Special Collections for assistance with the Mills College Archive.
Mills College Historical Photographs
Mills College Presidents
Mills (Susan and Cyrus) Papers
Reinhardt (Aurelia Henry) Papers
Rothwell (C. Easton) Papers
Wert (Robert ) Papers
White (Barbara McClure) Papers
White, (Lynn Townsend Jr.) Papers
Charlotte Baker Montgomery (1910-2009 ) received her BA from Mills College in 1929 and her MA from the University of California at Berkeley in 1930. In addition to her career as a writer and illustrator of books for children, she and her husband have been very active in the work of the Humane Society.
She has twice been awarded the Cokesbury Award by the Texas Institute of Letters: in 1953 for Magic for Mary M., and in 1955 for Best of Friends. In 1972, her book Cockleburr Quarters was nominated for the Newbery Award.
The Baker papers include the manuscripts of eleven of Charlotte Baker's books, as well as associated research notes, correspondence, and reviews. The accompanying artwork for fourteen books includes 327 finished drawings and 24 designs for jackets or endpapers.
75 items, Rosalind Keep Estate
James Cameron, portrait and landscape painter, was born in Scotland about 1816 and came to America before 1839, according to the New York Historical Society's Dictionary of Artists in America. His correspondence indicates that he was in Italy from 1846–1848. In 1849 he was in Philadelphia and from then until 1867 in various parts of the east and south—Washington, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Nashville, and environs. By 1871 he had acquired the title Reverend and was serving a church in Maine. In 1874–1876 he was in California, part of the time as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in San Bernadino. The collection contains letters he wrote to his mother (1848–1859) and to his wife (1861–1859).
Emma Cameron is listed in the New York Historical Society's Dictionary of Artists in America as the wife of James Cameron, an artist in Philadelphia. The collection contains her letters to her mother-in-law (1851–1860) and to her husband (1861–1862) as well as her notes on travels in Italy (1846–1848) with some original drawings by Hiram Powers, the sculptor.
The couple's correspondents include Thomas B. Ashton, wood engraver, landscape and genre painter; Joseph Mozier, sculptor; and Sarah Brown Ingersoll Cooper, contributor to the Overland Monthly and pioneer in the kindergarten movement. A letter by Walter J. Miller, dated March 14, 1853, describes a voyage on the steamer Tennessee, that ended in a wreck off San Francisco Bay.
These papers came to the Library from the estate of Rosalind Keep, who hoped to publish them, according to her brother, Winthrop Keep.
103 Items, Gift of Mrs. Ellen Wildschut
Emma Cornea Clark of Cooperstown, New York, married William D. Strobel, an American clergyman whose life is briefly sketched in Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography.
The four earliest letters in the collection were written while Clark was a student at Emma Willard's Troy Female Seminary, predecessor of the Emma Willard School. Later letters describe a visit to New York and Washington, DC and her married life in New York.
Some of the letters from Emma's husband, William D. Strobel, were written before her marriage, others after her death, and some during his second marriage.
Other correspondents describe life in Washington, DC and in the Michigan Territory, but a drawing bears the name of the poet Lucretia Davidson and there is a plan for an addition to her poem, "Maritovne".
494 Items, Gift of Mary Roberts Coolidge
Dane Coolidge (1873-1940), field collector of mammals and reptiles, prolific writer of westerns, and serious student of the Southwest, was the husband of Mary Roberts Coolidge, who retired from Mills as Professor of Sociology in 1926. In 1945 she gave half of his papers to The Bancroft Library of the University of California and half to Mills.
The Coolidge Papers contain 372 business letters from 1911 to 1939 and the manuscripts of many of his books and short stories.
Mrs. Coolidge also split the photographic collection in half. In 1973 when it was discovered that the photographs were beginning to deteriorate, all prints and negatives (a total of 3760) were transferred to The Bancroft Library, where they could be properly preserved.
Fenley (Molissa) Papers
The General Manuscript Collection
Global Fund for Women Collection
Gordon (Beate Sirota) Papers
Harrison (Lou) Manuscripts
Hitchcock Coit Collection
James (Elias Olan) Papers
Keep (Josiah) Papers
Keep (Rosalind) Papers
Latimer (Rebecca) Papers
Lee (Barbara) Congressional Papers *Currently being processed
125 Items, Gift of Horace D. Lyon, Mrs. Ralph Lyon, Dr. Romola Lyon
The papers of Israel Whitney Lyon (1827–1907) include the diary he kept aboard the Flying Cloud when the ship made its record-breaking trip from New York to San Francisco in 1851, the diaries and account books he kept as a dentist during the Gold Rush years in California, personal and family letters, photographs and documents, as well as papers relating to the establishment of his toothpowder business. The records of the firm, I.W. Lyon and Sons (makers of Dr. Lyon's toothpowder) are in the Baker Library of the Harvard School of Business.
The collection includes one letter written by Reverend Hendrickus Dow in 1790.
259 Items, Gift of Margaret E. Lyon, trustee of the Prall Estate
David Wright Prall (1886–1940), distinguished philosopher and teacher, was Professor of Philosophy at Harvard and taught also at Cornell, Amherst, the University of Texas, and the University of California. The Prall Papers includes letters, holograph notes, manuscripts, and typescripts of papers and reviews (both published and unpublished), the manuscript of his book, Aesthetic Analysis, and lecture notes for courses taught during the last years of his life.
His sister, Margaret C. Prall, Mills Music Department Faculty (1929–1955) and the Chair of the Mills Music Department (1954–1955), is represented by the manuscripts of a number of articles and speeches and some correspondence.
Their sisters, Elizabeth (Mrs. Sherwood Anderson) and Dorothea (Mrs. Max Radin), and father, Delberth E. Prall, are also represented.
Reese (Mary Lou Hutton) Scrapbooks
Ringo (James) Papers
Shere (Charles) Papers
Smith (Patti) Collection–A collection of about 400 books by and about poet and musician Patti Smith plus comprehensive holdings of recordings, journals, clippings, photographs, and ephemera. (call number =Patti Smith)
Spearman (Glenn) Papers
Van Tuyl (Marian) Papers