Treasures from Rare and Historical Books

The  Academy Library and Archives is internationally recognized for its rare and historic books, journals, art, artifacts, manuscripts, photographs, and the unique papers and research of Academy members and staff. The Library holds more than 250,000 titles that span from 1520 to present, and two-thirds of all titles predate the 20th century.

The 2,000 Archives collections contain more than a million items, including manuscripts, field notebooks, correspondence, films, journals, and photographs. The Archives collections span from 1692 to present, including art and artifacts.

The scientific illustrations in the exhibit Treasures from Rare and Historic Books of the Library and Archives posted at Google Arts and Culture show some of the treasures from our rare and historic books. Below are a few dazzling examples. For the full experience, visit the online exhibit.

The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands by Mark Catesby. The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
caterpiller
The Naturalists’ Miscellany, or Coloured Figures of Natural Objects by George Shaw. Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
snake and croc
Dissertatio de Generatione et Metamorphosibus Insectorum Surinamensium by Maria Sibylla. Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
buffalo
The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America by John James Audubon. Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

By Carolyn Belardo


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