Chinese Rare Books and Special Collections: Finding

Chinese rare books and special collections in C.V. Starr East Asian Library and other libraries

Where to Find?

Catalogs and Portals

Besides the print catalogs and bibliographies on Chinese rare books, the major online catalogs and portals to use for discovering Chinese rare books and special collections include the following:

The Starr East Asian Library's Chinese-language rare books and most of special materials can be found by searching CLIO, or, preferable to many users, Worldcat, which at least satisfactorily accommodates Chinese traditional or simplified characters as well as LC pinyin.

Most of Chinese rare books, particularly those over 1,000 titles cataloged through the Chinese Rare Books Project, can also be found at Chinese Ancient Books Union Catalog 中文古籍聯合目錄 by choosing Columbia East Asian Library 哥倫比亞大學東亞圖書館 in the last field of Holding Library 原書館藏地.

The Rare Book and Manuscript Library also has a substantial collection of Chinese rare books and large collections of China related archival and special materials. Particularly it holds, among many others, Chinese Oral History Project reminiscences and papers, and the print leaves of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), namely Ling ji duan bi 《零璣斷璧》, a collection of 12-title print samples.

China-related archival and special collections, including Chinese Oral History Project results and papers, can be found by using Archival Collections Portal and Oral History Portal.

Other libraries at Columbia such as Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary and Gottesman Libraries at Teachers College also hold China-related books and special materials. In particular, the China Papers of Missionary Research Library Archives in Burke Library includes many dozens of personal and organizational papers related to American missionaries in China and Chinese Christianity.

The very rare and special collections, such as Oracle bones, which have been digitized and made public accessible.

Collections to Be Processed

Some very rare materials such as a set of jade book in both Manchu and Chinese languages, of which the texts have been digitized, and artwork and objects are to be fully processed and cataloged.

Special collections of significant nature have not been processed or fully processed, including but not limited to the following:

  • Cultural Revolution Propaganda Art
  • Ephemera Collection on Chinese Science, Technology, Law, and Society (over 100 posters have been processed)
  • Kiachi and Patricia Koo Tsien Collection
  • Myron Cohen Formosa/Taiwan Land/Field Data & Records
  • Papers of China Institute in America
  • Ta Chun Hsu Papers
  • Tsuyee Pei Papers
  • Weng Wan-go Film Reel Collection (partially processed; some converted into DVDs)
  • Zhang Xueliang (Peter H. L. Chang) and Yu Fengchi Collection

It is hoped they will be processed and made available for researchers in near future.

Chinese Studies

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Chengzhi Wang
C.V. Starr East Asian Library
212 854 3721