Skip to main content

Public Library

Hervey Family Rare Book Room

Image of the Rare Book Room at the San Diego Public Library
The Hervey Family Rare Book Room houses the Wangenheim Rare Book Collection. With over 9000 items, the collection illustrates the development of the book through the ages, in all its aspects - the world of paper making, the art of book illustration, and the history of printing.

Planning Your Visit

To access materials located in the Hervey Family Rare Book Room for research, please contact the Special Collections Manager at or call at 619-236-5852.

View guidelines for visiting: PDF icon Rare Book Room Protocol

Collection Highlights

Image of four miniature books next to a quarter for size comparison

Miniature Book Collection

The Wangenheim Rare Book Collection holds more than 500 miniature books
(List of holdings).
Image of Native Americans from the Edward S. Curtis Folios

Complete Set of Edward S. Curtis Folios

This complete edition of Edward Curtis’ rare work The North American Indian, consist of volumes of illustrations and photographs chronicling traditional Native American culture.
Image of a book with fore-edge painting of a bridge

Fore Edge Painted Book Collection

The Wangenheim Collection is home to more than 200 fore-edge painted books, a unique form of art work where the painted images on the book’s fore-edge is only visible when the pages are fanned. View a digitized selections on SDPL Digital Archive.
Image of clay tablet with inscriptions

4000 year old Cuneiform Tablet Collection

The Babylonian clay tablet collection contains clay tablets inscribed with cuneiform characters, ca. 2300 BCE. Cuneiform script is one of the earliest known systems of writing emerging from Mesopotamia. View a digitized selections on SDPL Digital Archive.