Tisch Special Collections holds medieval manuscripts, incunabula, early printed books from many of the most important figures in printing history - including a collection of books from the press of Aldus Manutius - works of early modern science and medicine, travel and exploration, philosophy, religion, history, politics, art, theater, and music; a large collection of 19th century American pamphlets; facsimiles of Japanese and Islamic manuscripts; and personal libraries (e.g. Hosea Ballou 2d, founding president of Tufts, the Ritter music history collection, the English history collection of Professor Edwin C. Bolles, and Tufts poet John Holmes's poetry book collection).
Current collecting emphases include:
Other Tufts's special collections include those of the W. Van Alan Clark, Jr. Library at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA), the Hirsch Health Sciences Library, the Lilly Music Library, and the Webster Family Library at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.
Tisch Special Collections are exclusively rare books. Tufts's publications, University records, and archival collections (mainly non-book) can be found at the Tufts Archival Research Center.