Rare Books and Manuscripts Division
The Rare Books and Manuscripts section is a closed stack area which houses not only rare books and archival collections but also software, audio-visual materials, photographs, sheet maps, memorabilia, and ephemera. The oldest volume in the collection was published in Paris in 1491 (formerly owned by Genaro García), and the oldest New World imprint was published in Mexico in 1543/44. Manuscript and archival collections are subdivided into those relating to Latin America (over 2,000 linear feet of materials) and those relating to Mexican Americans (nearly 3,000 linear feet).
Access to the holdings is through the Library Catalog, through the Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO) list of archival finding aids, or through in-house files available in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Reading Room (SRH 1.101). There are also online listings of Mexican American/Latin@, Mexican and Latin American manuscripts processed by the Benson Latin American Collection.
Some very limited items from the Benson Collection's Rare Books and Manuscripts division have been digitized and are available for online viewing at TARO or in the University of Texas Digital Repository. Visit the Selections page to see more.
Who May Use Rare Materials
Materials in the Rare Books and Manuscripts section are available to anyone who wishes to use them and who agrees to abide by its regulations. Patrons must present picture identification: either a UT ID card or, for visitors, a driver's license, passport, or similar identification. Materials may be used only in the section's reading room. Pencils or computers are permitted for taking notes; however, any kind of ink pen is prohibited. Digital photography is allowed, and patrons may photocopy materials in good physical condition with permission of staff.
The following photoduplication services are available: photocopying, microfilm duplication, and digitization of all formats. Photoduplication rates are available on the following fee schedule and requests may be sent to the Benson Collection's reference email address or by directly contacting library staff for additional information.
Hours of Operation
Normal hours of operation for the Rare Books and Manuscripts reading room are 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday, and many Saturday afternoons 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM. To confirm that the library is open on a Saturday, check the library schedule or contact the Rare Books and Manuscripts reading room at 512-495-4578.
Please note: the Rare Books and Manuscripts reading room will be closed Saturdays during the summer. Researchers may contact the Benson Collection about the possibility of special Saturday appointments if needed.