Washington University's collections of manuscripts contain a broad range of materials dating from the 2nd century BC through the present. The largest group of materials is the Modern Literature Collection.
The Department of Special Collections’ manuscript holdings comprise more than a quarter million items. The majority of these fall within the Modern Literature Collection, a repository of materials that documents the histories of more than 175 authors, presses, and periodicals, and constitutes one of the most comprehensive resources for the study of contemporary Anglo-American literature in the United States.
Other significant manuscript collections found within Special Collections include the Papyri Collection of ancient Egyptian manuscript fragments, the George N. Meissner Collection of manuscript items associated with various historical and literary figures, and a significant archive of ancient and medieval manuscripts. Together with the Modern Literature Collection, these holdings make WashingtonUniversity’s manuscript collections a premier research archive.