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English Literature

SDSU Special Collections

These entries describe historical primary source collections available for research in Special Collections at the SDSU Library. Special Collections houses unique archival and manuscript collections, rare books and manuscripts, and graphic/ephemera collections.

Print Collections

Rare Books Collection 

The Rare Books Collection contains extensive holdings in a variety of topics relevant to both British and American literature.  The collection is particularly strong in modern first editions,children’s literaturedramawomen’s historyBeat Poets, and nineteenth-century literature. Use the PAC Advanced Keyword Search, and limit the location to “Special Collections.” One can also limit by date and type of material.

Chater Science Fiction Collection 
Elizabeth Chater, professor emeritus of English at San Diego State University, began donating her personal library to Special Collections in 1977. The original collection consisted of science fiction (especially Golden Age and New Wave), fantasy, horror and gothic literature, and was distinguished by a number of first editions, many signed, as well as numerous rare "pulp" serial titles. The original collection has been expanded over the years by several generous donors, and currently totals over 4,300 book and serial titles. Search by title: "Chater Science Fiction Collection" in the library catalog to view a complete list of holdings. To perform a focused search, use the catalog's Advanced Search function to search keyword "Chater" with any author and/or title keywords, and limit to location: Special Collections.
Henry James Collection 

The Henry James Collection includes over 200 scarce editions of James’ work, as well as manuscripts of the author, works about his life, ephemera, and works by and about other members of the James family. Search “Henry James Collection” in the Advanced Keyword PAC search, and limit to Special Collections.

Janus Press Collection 

Claire Van Vliet started the Janus Press while a student at San Diego State in 1955. Janus Press is recognized as an outstanding leader in the book arts field and has made a major contribution to American fine printing. The independent small press is noted for creating innovative, hand-made, and experimental limited editions of contemporary poetry, literary classics, and fine books of art.  A winner of the MacArthur "Genius" grant, Van Vliet has an extensive list of collaborators in literature, including Galway Kinnell and Rita Dove. Special Collections has a full run of Janus Press productions. Search “Janus Press” in the PAC Advanced Keyword search, and limit the location to “Special Collections.”