The Rare Books and Manuscripts (RBMS) collection contains primary source materials and supporting published works that do not circulate, but are available for advanced study and research in the Jack and Jan Creighton Special Collections Reading Room.
RBMS has a number of collection strengths. The Talfourd P. Linn Cervantes collection is an historical collection of editions of Don Quixote through the ages in various languages from the first Madrid printing to contemporary editions. RBMS' English Renaissance holdings include the Stanley Kahrl seventeenth-century drama collection; a rich, historical collection of multiple copies of different editions of John Foxe's Book of Martyrs; and, Anglican, Puritan and Catholic religious books. The Harold Grimm History of Reformation Collection contains important writings of early Protestant reformers, especially Luther and Melanchthon. Other named collections include The Peter D. Franklin Cook Book Collection with an historical focus on Ohio, midwestern, German-American, and fish, fowl and game cooking, in addition to contemporary cook books; The Emanuel Rudolph Children's Science Collection, containing over 8,000 volumes of nineteenth- and twentieth-century children's science books; The Donald B. Cooper Brazilian Medicine Collection, covering public health issues in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, and The Lillian Feldman Schwartz Collection and Archive, documenting the career of one of the pioneers of computer animation. Additional collecting areas include voyages and travels of the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys; UFO materials; and Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts. RBMS is also home to an extensive collection of 19th and 20th century photographs.
The James Thurber Collection is the world's richest repository of the writings of Ohio State's most noted literary author. In addition to extensive holdings of first and subsequent printings of Thurber books, the collection includes manuscripts, correspondence, drawings, photographs, scrapbooks, et al. RBMS also has strong literary archives of Nelson Algren, Samuel Beckett, William S. Burroughs, Frederick Busch, Lin Carter, Raymond Carver, Karen Harper, William Bradford Huie, Jessica Mitford, James Purdy, Helen Hooven Santmyer, William T. Vollmann, and the literary journal Conjunctions.
The William Charvat Collection of American Fiction is the strongest research book collection at the Ohio State University Libraries, containing first printings of American authors from the late eighteenth century to the present day. The newly formed Avant Writing Collection, a growing collection of small press poets and fictionists, enriches RBMS' late twentieth and early twenty-first-century holdings. Genre fiction is represented through an extensive science fiction collection, nineteenth-century paperbacks, and magazine fiction. Major British authors are amply represented in RBMS. Recently, RBMS has begun the development of a contemporary Irish collection to augment its strong holdings of earlier twentieth-century Irish authors such as Samuel Beckett, James Joyce and William Butler Yeats.