Rare Book Collections

Rare books within Wheaton Archives & Special Collections may be accessed in the Manuscripts Reading Room, on the third floor of Billy Graham Hall. While books are not able to be checked out due to their unique status, anyone is welcome to view and read the books during open hours of the Manuscripts Reading Room.

William Akin Collection, SC-01

Rare Book - Akin CollectionThis 4,000 volume collection came from the library of book collector William Akin. Mr. Akin donated the collection in honor of V. Raymond Edman, Wheaton’s fourth president. The focus of the collection is British literature, including numerous volumes by Lewis Carroll, James Boswell, Samuel Johnson, and John Bunyan.

The Akin Book Collection may be searched in the library catalog with keyword “SC/01”. 


Blanchard Libraries, SC-06

Rare Book - Blanchard LibraryThe private libraries of Jonathan Blanchard and his son, Charles Albert Blanchard, the first two presidents of Wheaton College, comprise this collection. The collection contains over 300 volumes, including autographed copies, and reflects the interests of the two men. Topics include Freemasonry, slavery and the temperance movement. 

The Blanchard Libraries may be searched in the library catalog with keyword “SC/06”.


General Rare Book Collection, SC-10

Rare Book - General CollectionThe Rare Book Collection contains over 2,000 works on a broad range of subjects. Collection strengths include Reformation-era Bibles, as well as theological and devotional material. Collection contents were received through the donation, purchase, or transfer from the general library collection of Wheaton College.

The Rare Book Collection may be searched in the library catalog using keyword “SC/10”.


Hymnal Collection, SC-15

Hymnal CollectionThis extensive hymnal collection, received from Hope Publishing Company among other additions, comprises more than 2,000 Protestant hymnals. The holdings encompass primarily English works, although other languages are also held. The hymnals range in date from the 1790s to the late 1980s and provide wonderful examples of hymns of praise, exhortation, description, and meditation.

The Hymnal Collection may be searched in the library catalog using keyword “SC/15”.


Sacred Arts Collection, SC-233

Rare Books - Sacred Arts CollectionThe majority of the books and pamphlets included in this collection came from the Billy Graham Center Museum. Strengths of the collection include 19th-century evangelistic material, 18th and 19th century pamphlets, thumb Bibles, and fine press Bibles.

Collection contents may be searched in the library catalog using keyword “SC/233”.



Evangelism & Missions Rare Book Collection, SC-236

Books from SC-236This rare book collection comprises the rare and fragile manuscripts removed from the Evangelism & Missions Library's circulating collection. The collection includes more than 1,500 books and pamphlets covering early American sermons, church and mission board history, Christian biography, and global evangelism efforts.

Collection contents may be searched in the library catalog using keyword “SC/236”.


McCormick Theological Seminary Rare Book Collection

McCormick Rare Color EditThis collection includes 1,300 volumes of rare books on a variety of Christian religious topics spanning the 16th to the 20th century from Chicago’s McCormick Theological Seminary. All books in the collection are duplicates of titles held by the Newberry Library. 

The collection has not been cataloged but a complete inventory of the McCormick Theological Seminary Rare Book Collection is available. Please contact the archives for more information.