American literature holdings in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division are far from comprehensive, as most late nineteenth- and twentieth-century works remain in the General Collections, but there is sufficient unique material to merit attention.
The division routinely collects current copyright deposits of nearly eighty contemporary American women writers. For certain works by contemporary women writers and artists the Library's only copies are found in the Press Collection or the Artists' Books Collection.
Susan E. King's Women and Cars (Los Angeles: Paradise Press, 1983; N7433.5.K56 A4 1983 Artists' Bks) and her Georgia (Los Angeles: Paradise Press, 1981; PS3561.I4834 G46 1981 Press) are in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division only and five of Johanna Drucker's works are found only in the Artists' Books Collection.
Three of Sylvia Plath's works, including The Green Rock (Ely: Embers Handpress, 1982; PS3566.L27 G7 1982 Press), are found only in the Press Collection, as is Arthur Miller's Homely Girl (New York: Peter Blum, 1992; PS3525.I5156 H66 1992 Press), with etchings by Louise Bourgeois.
Works found in these collections are often published in limited editions, sometimes numbering as few as ten, and with unusual artwork or bindings.
Significant holdings by a number of earlier writers include works by Laura Benet, Elizabeth Bishop, Alice Brown, Pearl S. Buck, Alice Carey, Emily Dickinson, Edna Ferber, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Ellen Glasgow, Louise Imogen Guiney, Sarah Josepha Hale, Lorraine Hansberry, Lillian Hellman, Zora Neale Hurston, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Margaret Mitchell, Marianne Moore, Margaret Bayard Smith, Gertrude Stein, Eudora Welty, and Edith Wharton.
Some of these were acquired as part of special collections like the Oliver Wendell Holmes Collection and the Finkelstein Collection. Others are particularly interesting because of inscriptions, unusual provenance, or special illustrations.