The Harold and Mary Jean Hanson Rare Book Collection in the University of Florida Libraries' Department of Special and Area Studies Collections reaches broadly across intellectual fields and eras. The collection includes extensive holdings of early printed works, a strong showing of architectural works, and a unique collection of prints and proofs from important pioneers in fine printing, such as Eric Gill. A significant history of science collection is especially robust in astronomy and botany. Orchidiceae and subjects related to tropical flor and fauna intersect with holdings of the Florida Museum of Natural History, located at the University of Florida.
The Parkman Dexter Howe Library comprises thousands of first editions of early New England authors, including a handwritten Nathaniel Hawthorne manuscript of "The Celestial Railroad." The original autograph manuscript of Herman Melville's Round Robin from Omoo also contains a paragraph from Mardi, and a Red Book of Humphry Repton includes drawings of his plans for the grounds of Witton in Norfolk.
Eric Gill proofs and book illustrations are a highlight of the book arts and history of the book holdings, with fine press works, engraved wood blocks by John Buckland Wright, special bindings, and fore-edge paintings in the collection. The Marjorie S. Coffey Residency supported the creation of All Sorts (2015) by a Emily Martin, a visiting artist-in-residence. The collaborative creation of an artist-made book is one of the annual projects of the Library Press@UF. The collection grows through the acquisition of major new works by established artists and works from emerging artists studying in book arts programs across the United States.
A number of area or special collections in SASC also hold rare books, and these holdings are curated collaboratively by specialists in rare books, languages, and area studies.