Macalester College Archives

Rare Books Collection at Macalester

The Rare Books collection consists of published material that is valuable and unique. These are items are thus considered too valuable to be in the general circulating collection. Selected material may also be placed in the Rare Books room so as to form a meaningful collection in combination with rare material.

The Rare Books Room of the DeWitt Wallace Library was first organized in 1961-62 and consists of first editions, along with some rare and unique published and unpublished materials.  The main focus of the collection is American authors who have achieved prominence in the first half of the 20th century, with a special emphasis on Midwestern authors.  Authors include:  Sinclair Lewis,  Willa Cather, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hamlin Garland, O.E. Rolvaag, William Faulkner, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, and Charles A. Lindbergh.  Other authors in the collection include:  Robert Frost, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, Feike Feikema (Frederick Manfred), Kay Boyle, John Steinbeck,  Carl Sandburg, William Styron, and Thomas Wolfe.

A major feature of the Rare Books Room is the significant collection of Sinclair Lewis, most of which was purchased in 1965.  Generous gifts of  books and letters, as well as works about Sinclair Lewis, have enriched the collection over the years.   

Another feature of the collection is a focus on mid-20th century prose and poetry. The Charles Foster Collection celebrates a long friendship with Robert Frost. Donated by the Foster family, one of whom is David A. Foster, class of 1967, there are first edition works of Robert Frost as well as Christmas cards with handwritten greetings from Robert Frost to Charles Foster and his wife, Doris.

A more recent addition to the Rare Books Room is the works of Vladimir Nabokov.  This collection belonged to the late David F. Wheeler, class of 1980.  David majored in English literature and Russian studies as a student at Macalester College.  In his honor, and because the family credits the college for nurturing David's interest in Russian literature, the family donated his collection of Nabokov works to the library in 1998.

Have a Question About Rare Books?

Access to the Rare Books Collection is by appointment only.

This Collection is not a browsing collection. We are also not able to do searches for information for individuals who are currently not associated with the college.

Access to the Materials

Current Macalester Community Members:
Contact the Library Liaison assigned to the department or subject area that most closely relates to your research needs.

All Others:
Contact Angi Faiks, Associate Director of the Library, Collection Management

Significant Rare Books Collection Materials

  • Sinclair Lewis
  • Willa Cather
  • William Faulkner
  • Edna St. Vincent Millay
  • Adlai Stevenson

Other authors in the collection include:

  • Kaye Boyle
  • Truman Capote
  • Hamlin Garland
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Feike Feikma (Frederick Manfred)
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Robert Frost
  • Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  • Charles A. Lindbergh
  • Vladimir Nabokov
  • O. E. Rolvaag
  • Carl Sandburg
  • John Steinbeck
  • William Styron
  • Thomas Wolfe

Have a Question About the Archives?

Please Contact:

Ellen Holt-Werle
Archives & Reference
DeWitt Wallace Library
1600 Grand Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55105

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