In brief

Special Collections brings together the University of Washington Libraries' most rare and unique resources. From papyrus to born-digital, our holdings span history and the globe, and offer boundless opportunities for exploration and discovery.

Students, faculty, and visitors are invited to examine manuscripts, printed works, artists' books, photographs, maps, and other materials in the protected environment of the Special Collections reading room.  Our digital collections are available on the web.

We believe that the histories of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color are essential. We acknowledge that University of Washington Special Collections contributes to an institutional legacy of collecting bias, acquiring harmful collections, and using offensive language to describe our resources. We also acknowledge structural issues with public services and personnel that perpetuate systemic discrimination and cultural bias. We are actively working to address this legacy.

We are committed to combating institutionalized racism by supporting the preservation of the histories of underrepresented communities at UW and in the Pacific Northwest. We commit to examine our own practices continually and share our progress on this work. We endeavor to ensure that these histories are appropriately represented and cared for in Special Collections. (Statement updated: 20 July 2021)


We welcome volunteers and interns to assist us in our work. If you are interested in learning more about opportunities available in Special Collections please fill out the form below and we will be in contact.

Annual Report


Current Exhibit

And Then She Said: Voices of Feminists Past and Present was sown from The Dead Feminists series, a collaboration between local artists Chandler O’Leary and Jessica Spring in the form of a collection of 31 broadsides elevating voices of women throughout history. Featuring quotes by historical feminists, the broadsides are also tied to current political and social issues. Each limited-edition broadside is letterpress printed from hand-drawn lettering and illustrations. The exhibit augments the series with items from the Libraries’ collections as well as reflections from library staff about what the artwork means to them and how it resonates with their own experiences.





Viewing is currently by appointment only. Use our Contact Us form to schedule a visit!

Dead Feminists Exhibit 2021