The Ida Rust Macpherson Collection is of particular significance. Established in 1936, it is the earliest major collection on women at any women’s college in the United States. These more than three thousand volumes by and about women are predominantly primary, published source material: diaries, letters, journals, memoirs, and autobiographies. Four major areas of concentration are: Emancipation and Reform; Domestic History; Westward Expansion; and Woman in the Humanist Tradition. Originally a book collection, holdings of manuscripts of women of literary and historical significance are growing. Among those represented are Marie Corelli, Eva Le Gallienne, Marianne Moore, May Sarton, and Gertrude Stein. The Macpherson Collection features about 170 women’s periodicals from the late 18th century to the present, with many 19th century titles. Particularly notable is the extensive collection of woman printers and book designers from the earliest printed books to the work of contemporary printers. One of the Library’s incunabula, La Historia D’Alexandro Magno, printed by Florentine Dominican nuns in 1478, is here along with Elizabeth Redman’s 1540 printing of the Magna Carta. Of more recent interest is the work of the Cuala Press founded in Dublin in 1903 by Elizabeth Corbett Yeats, and that of Helen Gentry, and Jane Grabhorn. Distinctive work of the most outstanding contemporary women printers and book artists is represented by that of Claire Van Vliet, Betsy Davids, Julie Chen, Carolee Campbell, Johanna Drucker, Roswitha Quadflieg, Sandra Reese, and Susan King. Although most of the Macpherson Collection is housed separately, work of contemporary women printers is in the Rare Book Room where many of Denison’s special collections and manuscripts are centered.
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