Special Collections

The Heller Rare Book Room in the F.W. Olin Library houses Mills College’s special collections, comprising more than 12,000 volumes and 10,000 manuscripts. Here you'll find original materials that will advance your studies in book art, including several hundred artists' books, with a focus on the handmade, as well as important holdings of fine press, limited-edition, and antiquarian books.

Mills College Special Collections Dante

The Early Printed Books Collection, the Albert M. Bender Collection, and the Bookbinding Collection provide historical models for use in book art studio classes. Seminal holdings such as a leaf of the Gutenberg Bible, the Nuremberg Chronicle, Shakespeare's First Folio, the Kelmscott Chaucer, the Mayakovsky/El Lissitzky collaboration For the Voice, and many other examples fundamental to the history of the book provide critical support for the MFA in book art’s core graduate seminar, The Material Book. This seminar explores the history, theory, and conceptual underpinnings of the book as a material object.