The Collection

The John Carter Brown Library collection of 50,000 rare books (printed before ca. 1825), manuscripts, and 16,000 reference books and secondary sources (printed after ca. 1825) is distinguished in many subject areas. Most well-known, perhaps, are the Library’s extensive holdings in the literature of European exploration and travel in the Western Hemisphere, from the first Latin edition of the Columbus letter of 1493, through nearly all of the contemporary narratives of Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch, and English discovery, exploration, and settlement.

The John Carter Brown Library collection is entirely distinct from the Brown University Library collection and is 90% accessible online. Some 40,000 JCB titles are recorded on both the Brown University online catalogue “JOSIAH” and in the WorldCat database.   These primary materials are supported by a large bibliographical reference collection and are extended by the collections of the Brown University Libraries.