Special Collections

About Us

Our Mission

The Special Collections Department facilitates discovery and fosters public engagement with rare, distinctive, and culturally significant materials held by Boston Public Library. To fulfill this mission, Special Collections staff acquire, describe, preserve, and interpret our collections for the people of Boston, the Commonwealth, and communities of researchers and learners everywhere. We are committed to sustainable, responsive, user-centered stewardship while providing equitable access to the collections and services of the department. BPL special collections are available for the study and enjoyment of all.

Who We Are
Who Uses Our Collection

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The Archives Department manages, describes, and makes accessible archival collections within the BPL Special Collections department.


The Arts Department collection includes photographs, prints, drawings, musical scores, paintings, sculpture, archives, books, & manuscripts.

Rare Books & Manuscripts

The Rare Books & Manuscripts Department collects printed books and handwritten materials from around the world.
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