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Located on the campus of Yale University located in New Haven, Connecticut. Yale University Library is the library system of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. It is the second-largest academic library in North America, with approximately 12.5 million volumes housed in 20 buildings on campus. Based on the number of volumes held, it is the fifth-largest library collection in the US, and the second-largest academic library (after Harvard University Library).

Historical Background

Yale University was found in 1701, and is one of the oldest universities in the United States. From the beginning of the founding of the school, books played a major role in its development. According to legend, ten local ministers presented forty folios for the new school. Although this story is primarily legend, there is evidence of several ministers making contributions of books to the early school. In its first 40 years, the university received several large gifts of books. These included:

Jeremiah Dummer, the agent in London for the colony of Connecticut (more than 800 titles presented by Dummer himself and many others, among whom Isaac Newton, Edmond Halley, and Richard Steele); hundreds of additional titles presented in 1718 by Elihu Yale himself (altogether the largest benefactor of the college in the eighteenth century, thus perhaps an obvious explanation for the name of the school; a gift made in 1733 (jointly to Yale and Harvard) by the philosopher and Anglican bishop George Berkeley.

In 1742 a manuscript catalog was compiled by Yale’s fifth rector and first president, Thomas Clap. This catalogue, which contained 2600 titles, was printed in 1743. At that time the library was considered the largest in the North American colonies. Subsequent editions of the catalogue were printed in 1755, 1791; 1808, and 1823. During the next 250 years the library continued to grow both in terms of collections and buildings. A major milestone was the creation of a separate Rare Book Room in 1930 when the Sterling Memorial Library opened. In 1963 the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library opened. Over the past seventy-five years several department libraries were created, many of which contain material that is represented in Yale’s contribution to the HPB. These include the Divinity, Music, Historical Medical, Center for British Arts, and Lewis Walpole libraries.[1]

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  • This page was last modified on 5 February 2013, at 20:33.
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