Special Collections at Middlebury College serves as a research laboratory for students, faculty, administration, staff, alumni, the Middlebury community, and independent scholars.

We welcome researchers to explore our collections of rare books, archives, manuscripts, photographs, audio and video recordings, and other rare and unique materials that tell the story of our collective past.

Our major collections are broad in scope and include the Julian W. Abernethy Collection of American Literature, the Helen Hartness Flanders Ballad Collection, Rare Books and Manuscripts, and the Middlebury College Archives.

Teach with us

Class visits in Special Collections & Archives range from surveys of faculty-selected materials to sessions where our staff provide hands-on, guided explorations of rare books, archives, manuscripts, maps, music, and more.

In most sessions staff can provide an overview of book history — how books shape and are shaped by cultural, economic, technological, and political forces — as well as book arts — the aesthetic, manufactured, and creative dimensions of books.

Our teaching philosophy is to deeply engage students with original primary materials, to expose as many students as possible to our unique collections, and to provide them with the tools they need to analyze, interpret, and use primary documents.

Classes and visits for schools and organizations outside of Middlebury College are also welcome. We are happy to support visits from K-12 schools, area colleges, and community groups.

If you are interested in setting up a visit, or wondering what materials might be appropriate for a class, please contact us at specialcollections@middlebury.edu.