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Public Library

The Wangenheim Collection

The Wangenheim Collection includes rare books, manuscripts and artifacts illustrating the development of books through the ages in all its aspects - paper making, book binding, book illustration, and the history of printing. It spans more than 4,000 years, ranging from Babylonian clay tablets ca. 2300 BCE to a rare and exquisitely illustrated 20th century manuscript of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

The Man - Julius Wangenheim 1866-1942Julius Wangenheim Profile Image

The collection is named for San Diego banker, civic leader and bibliophile Julius Wangenheim who developed this collection on the history of the book. Read more about Julius Wangenheim.


The CollectionClay Tablets Image

The Wangenheim collection includes Egyptian papyrus, vellum manuscripts, lacquered palm leaf books from India, a bark codex, Chinese silk scrolls, and early handmade papers from Japan. Read and see more about the richness of the collection.

Past Events & ExhibitsImage of Book of Esther

View past events and exhibits related to the Wangenheim Collection.



Reading ListsDead Sea Scrolls Pathfinder Image

Dead Sea Scrolls Pathfinder (PDF)



Wangenheim Collection Support

Private support helps additions to the collection and funds preservation of the existing collection. Those interested in supporting the Wangenheim Collection may contact Vera Miller at or at the Wangenheim Rare Book Collection Foundation at (619) 291-8800.