Do I contradict myself?
Very well then . . . . I contradict myself;
I am large . . . . I contain multitudes.
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1855
Founded in 1911 when Yale College graduate Owen Franklin Aldis donated his distinguished library of first editions of American fiction, drama, and poetry to the Yale Library, the Collection of American Literature is one of the most important collections of its kind. In the century following Aldis’s gift, the Collection has continued to grow, building on core areas and expanding to include complementary materials, from individual manuscripts to expansive literary archives, from little magazines and lively ephemera to high-tech artists’ books. In 2011, collection highlights wer exhibited in Multitudes: A Celebration of the Yale Collection of American Literature, 1911 – 2011. This exhibition revealed areas of bibliographic strength and new development while demonstrating the Collection’s extraordinary richness, eclecticism, and depth. From the colonial period to the present, the Collection celebrates American Literature as a living art form with a complex history. Its evolving and vibrant traditions are a subject worthy of rigorous scholarly attention as well as leisurely pursuit for the general reader.
Collection Strengths & Highlights
Literary Intellectuals at Yale
Multitudes: A Celebration of the Yale Collection of American Literature, 1911 – 2011
An exhibition on view July 8 through October 1, 2011
The exhibition gallery is closed while the library's building is under renovation.
Temporary Reading Room Hours
Monday - Friday: 9 am to 4:45 pm
The temporary reading room is located in Yale's Sterling Memorial Library, across Wall Street from the Beinecke.
Beginnig September 1, 2016 our hours will be
Monday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Tuesday-Thursday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Friday 9 a.m. to 5