The Huntington Library
For qualified scholars, the Huntington Library is one of the largest and most complete research libraries in the United States in its fields of specialization.
The Library’s collection of rare books, manuscripts, prints, photographs, maps, and other materials in the fields of British and American history and literature totals more than six million items. Only a tiny portion of this number is on display at any one time, divided between the Main Exhibition Hall and the smaller West Hall.
Among the items on permanent exhibit are the Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
, a copy of the Gutenberg Bible on vellum, the double-elephant folio edition of Audubon's Birds of America
, and an unsurpassed collection of the early editions of Shakespeare's works.
The Library collections range in time period from the Middle Ages to the 21st century. The greatest concentration is in the English Renaissance, about 1500 to 1641; other strengths include medieval manuscripts, incunabula (books printed before 1501), maps, travel literature, British and American history and literature, the American Southwest, and the history of science, medicine and technology.
Every year more than 1,700 scholars come from all over the world to study these rare materials. The results of their work are published in books, journals, and textbooks for colleges and universities.