Cassie Brand, Curator of Rare Books for Washington University in St. Louis, stopped by to speak with Nancy about the Olin Library and the Rare Books Collections at the University.
Cassie Brand: Curator of Rare Books Olin Library at Washington University
Cassie Brand has been Curator of Rare Books at the Washington University Libraries since 2017. She enjoys sharing rare books with others through outreach programs, teaching classes, and curating exhibits. Her research focuses on the intersection of the book as a physical and cultural object and on the histories of book collecting and libraries. Cassie received her library degree from Indiana University in 2011 and is currently working on a PhD. Cassie’s dissertation, which is in progress, is tentatively titled “How Books Became Rare: The History of Special Collections in America 1880–1940.”
Among the topics discussed is the rare copy of the Declaration of Independence held in the library's collections.
When the Julian Edison Department of Special Collections opened in 1962, the Washington University Libraries owned a small rare book collection, the finest pieces of which had been donated by St. Louis collector William Keeney Bixby. Now, the Rare Book Collections include over 70,000 printed pieces and represent all the disciplines the University Libraries collect.
The Rare Book Collections include books from all Special Collection areas. The collections’ primary strengths are in the areas of literature; the material culture of the book, including the history of printing, graphic design, and the book arts; and aspects of American and world history.
Spanning seven centuries of written and visual communication, these collections support teaching and discovery across the University and are freely accessible to students, scholars, and visiting researchers.