Rare Books, Special Collections and Preservation Online Exhibitions

Upstate New York and the Women's Rights Movement


"A full report of the woman's rights agitation in the State of New York, would in a measure be the history of the movement. In this State, the preliminary battles in the anti-slavery, temperance, educational, and religious societies were fought; the first Governmental aid given to higher education of woman... Here the first Woman's Rights Convention was held, the first demand made for suffrage..."

Wilson's Days: The Life and Legacy of Joseph C. Wilson


Meliora is the motto of the University of Rochester, and translates from the Latin as “ever better.” The form in Latin has an imperative quality—an exhortation to do better and to be better.

Perhaps no individual has embodied the concept of University of Rochester's motto of Meliora more fully than Joseph C. Wilson--alumnus of the class of 1931, Trustee, community leader, and business leader.

Post Family Papers Project


19th century Rochester was a boiling cauldron of civic activism. This agitation was epitomized by the members of the Post family. All the materials in their papers have been digitized, including letters from Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Harriet Tubman.

Maps and Meliora


Our earliest map of Western New York—the gift of Dr. Seymour Schwartz—dates to 1724. As the University has grown and moved,  the manuscript and printed maps in our collections enable us to trace the topography, ownership, and use of the land our campuses occupy—from West Main Street to Prince Street to Wilson Boulevard.

Neilly Series Lectures


In 2001, the Neilly Series was established through an endowment gift of Life Trustee Andrew H. Neilly and his wife, Janet Dayton Neilly, to support library programs designed to contribute to the intellectual life of the University and to enhance the libraries' collections related to academic initiatives.

Susan B. Anthony: Celebrating "A Heroic Life"


Susan B. Anthony died on March 13, 1906 having dedicated her life to winning for women their political, civil, economic and educational rights. At Anthony's funeral her close friend and ally in the suffrage movement, Anna Howard Shaw, said of Susan B. Anthony, "Hers was a heroic life." The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections commemorated this heroic life with an exhibition of letters, photographs, printed material and memorabilia drawn from its extensive Anthony and woman suffrage collections. The exhibition opened on the 100th anniversary of Susan B. Anthony's death and continued through August 2006.

Gilbert and Sullivan: From London to America

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"Gilbert and Sullivan: From London to America" features items drawn from the collection of Dr. Harold Kanthor and focuses on the original Gilbert and Sullivan productions (1871-1896) in London and their transfer to New York and other major American cities. Included are autograph letters and drawings by Gilbert and Sullivan, programs and souvenirs from the original productions, presentation copies, cabinet photographs of the original performers, and nineteenth century advertising material demonstrating the wide popularity of Gilbert and Sullivan in America.

This digital exhibition was originally created in 2005 in a different digital platform and has been recreated in Omeka in 2020.

Rochester's Hope


This exhibit explores the connections between Mt. Hope Cemetery and the University, and was curated by students in Th. Emil Homerin's Speaking Stones course

To the Dandelion Yellow We Will E'er Be True

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In 1861, the University of Rochester moved to a new campus. It had just one building, some houses for faculty, and ample open land--land full of dandelions. 

This exhibit pulls examples from the University Archives to explore the deep roots of our favorite flower.

Evolutions in Space: The Rush Rhees Library Addition at 50

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In 1970, a major addition to the original 1930 library building opened...

Rochester Gas & Electric Lantern Slide Collection


This online exhibit presents images of some of the over 500 glass plate lantern slides which make up the Rochester Gas & Electric Lantern Slide Collection. The images here include photographs of Rochester-area streets, workers, equipment, gas flames, construction sites, cartoons, advertisements, diagrams, charts of figures, and maps. 

The majority of the image content is unidentified, and any details which would provide context are eagerly welcomed.


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“Women don't get half as much rights as they ought to; we want more, and we will have it.”
--Sojourner Truth, 1853

University Traditions: The Boar's Head Dinner


Since 1934, the students of the University of Rochester have welcomed the winter season with the Boar's Head Dinner.

90 Years Beside the Genesee


October 2020 marks 90 years since the dedication of the River Campus.

Lincoln and his Circle

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The project has digitized and makes available the letters to, from, and about Abraham Lincoln that are held in the University's collections.


History of the University of Rochester, 1850-1962


Upon his retirement in 1964 after almost 40 years of teaching  at the University of Rochester, Professor Arthur J. May was appointed University Historian to write a history of the University.

We'll Tell Our Story: 160 Years of Student Publications


The history of the University of Rochester has been, and still is, recorded by its students. This exhibition presents yearbooks, newspapers, creative and literary journals, humor magazines, and student group newsletters.