Special Collections

About Us

Special Collections is a center for original research and learning based on primary sources. Our purpose is to collect, curate, and make accessible to students, faculty, and staff of Saint Louis University, as well as visiting scholars and the local community, the rare book and medieval manuscript collections of the University Libraries. Through our Rare Books unit or Knights of Columbus Vatican Film Library, we offer a laboratory for the study of texts and images—both manuscript and print—in their original historical contexts, whether it is a fifteenth-century manuscript copy of the poetry of Petrarch or a nineteenth-century printed edition of Mark Twain. Our Vatican Film Library houses over 37,000 microfilmed copies of medieval manuscripts from the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana and is a unique resource for research.

Our public programs actively promote scholarship and learning through regular exhibitions of rare books and manuscripts, an annual conference
on medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, a fellowship program that bring scholars from around the world to use our collections, and a scholarly journal published twice yearly devoted to manuscript studies.

Our faculty librarian subject specialists regularly teach classes and curate exhibitions that illustrate how the historical and material aspects of texts and images inform our understanding of their meaning, transmission, and reception over time. They also work directly with our own student assistants and interns, teaching them valuable skills in critical assessment of historical evidence.

Special Collections is located in Pius XII Memorial Library and welcomes all students, faculty, and staff of Saint Louis University, as well as visiting students, scholars, and the general public. If you are planning a visit, please consult information on directions and University Library hours.


Rare Books

Pius XII Memorial Library, Rm. 307
Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm
rbk@slu.edu | 314-977-5070

Knights of Columbus Vatican Film Library

Pius XII Memorial Library, Rm. 105
Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm
vfl@slu.edu | 314-977-3090

General Mailing Address

Special Collections
Pius XII Memorial Library
Saint Louis University Libraries
3650 Lindell Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63108