The Harold & Mary Jean Hanson Rare Book collection consists of over 50,000 books, prints, ephemera, and artifacts related to the history of the book. Established in 1951, the Rare Book Collection reflects the intellectual trajectories of the University of Florida faculty, as over the years special collections from the departmental libraries and individual faculty members. In the last decades of the twentieth century, its holdings in literature were significantly enhanced by the addition of collections of French plays, New England literature, and significant gatherings of English ephemera. The collection is well-positioned to advance the teaching and research mission of the University, and to provide a forum for creativity and conversation about the past, and the future, of the book.
Click below to view a short history of the collection as well as our policies for development and donations.
Meet the Curator
Curator of the Harold and Mary Jean Hanson Rare Book Collection
I am interested in how the evidence in books and book collections, from their production to the chance encounters preserved on their pages, can inform our study of the history and culture, as well as illuminate how successive generations have perceived their past. I have published on the reading and reception (sometimes credulous, sometimes critical) of Britain’s origin history from its invention in the Middle Ages down to its enactment on the Shakespearean stage, as well as the intersections between history, fiction and forgery more generally.
I came to the University of Florida from Johns Hopkins University, where I completed a degree in medieval history and a postdoctoral fellowship in the early book collections.
Using the Collections
Material from the rare book collection can be used in the Grand Reading Room, on the second floor of the George A. Smathers Library