Rare Books, Special Collections and Preservation Online Exhibitions

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.

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.

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

to the dandelion.jpg

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

exhibit card.jpg

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

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.

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.

Hyam Plutzik and the Plutzik Series at 60


This online exhibit celebrates the life of Hyam Plutzik on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Plutzik Reading Series and draws upon exhibitions created in 1982, 2011, and 2012.