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Learn more about Special Collections and our materials at the following sources:
The Special Collections blog, offering brief notes about events and items from the collections.
Online Collections & Exhibitions
- Nicholson Whaling Logs
Over 700 fully-digitized whaling logs.
- Updike Collection Book Trade Portraits
Over 400 images depicting printers, booksellers and other members of the book trades.
- Civil War Ballads
A sampling from the hundreds of Civil War ballads in the Harris Civil War & Slavery Collection.
- Rediscovered-The Glass Negative Project
The product of a collaboration between Special Collections and the Paul S. Krot Community Darkroom at AS220.
View the image gallery.
- Whaling & Maritime History
An exhibition highlighting some of the resources available in the Nicholson Whaling Collection, including dozens of images of scrimshaw.
View the scrimshaw gallery.
- Uncle Tom in Foreign Lands
A sampling of foreign-language editions of Uncle Tom's Cabin.
- RI Civil War Ephemera
A selection of Rhode Island-related ephemera from the Harris Civil War & Slavery Collection.
- Medieval Manuscripts
Images from medieval manuscripts in the PPL Special Collections are available online at the Digital Scriptorium.
- At Play
An exhibition of whimsical items. Visit to build your own historic toys and games.
- The Percival Magic Collection
A selection of images from the collection.
- The Wonder Show: Sympathetic Magic
A collection of images and text documenting the May 18th and 19th Wonder Show performances in Providence as well as the PPL exhibition accompanying it.
- Rhode Island Collection Images on Flickr
Over 3,000 images relating to Rhode Island.
- George Turner Civil War Letters
Images of nearly 200 letters by a Rhode Island Civil War soldier, dating from 1861 to 1864. Many have been transcribed. An online exhibition provides background on Turner and a selection of his letters.
- Arnold Autograph Collection
Over 100 manuscript items relating to the history of Rhode Island from the 17th century to the 20th.
- Walter Crane, Lionel's Longitudes
An unique illustrated manuscript book Crane created for his son Lionel. Available as a flipbook and individual page images.
- The Manuscript Pattern-Book of R. Lee
The pattern book created by a carver who designed and created figureheads for ships. See Occasional Nuggets, vol 2, issue 3 for more information.
- The Vinton Diaries
Journals of Major John Rogers Vinton, who served in Florida during the Seminole War.
- Alonso Victor de Paredes, Institución y origen del arte de la imprenta
Printed in Madrid sometime in the 17th century, this is an early and important printing manual.
- Catalog of the 1911 St. Bride Library Sale
The original source for the core of the Library's Daniel Berkeley Updike Collection.
- A Letter to Henri IV of France
A 16th-century manuscript by Dominicus Musè in a contemporary fanfare binding.
- Transcription of the James Albert Barber Diary
The Civil War diary of a member of the 1st Rhode Island Volunteer Light Artillery, 1862.
- Transcriptions of whaling logbooks provided by researchers.
- Daniel Mowry Letters.
- Transcription of the Dorr War journal of Benjamin Townsend
Read more about Townsend's journal in Occasional Nuggets, volume 4, issue 3.
Online Collection Guides
Links to finding aids for our manuscript and ephemera collections are available on the "How To Find Special Collections Materials" page.
Special Collections images are also available on Flickr.