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


The Neilly Series was established in 2001 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.

To the Dandelion Yellow We Will E'er Be True


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: Celebrating 50 Years of the Rush Rhees Library Addition


In 1970, a major addition to the original 1930 library building was opened--almost doubling the square footage of the building--with many spaces in the original 1930 building remodeled to serve new uses. This online exhibition recalls the dedication events, the planning and construction, and contrasts the current use and appearance of the spaces with their 1970 look.

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.