2016-17 catalog

Libraries and Educational Resources


The Mariam Coffin Canaday Library is the center of Bryn Mawr’s library system. Opened in 1970, it houses the College’s holdings in the humanities and the social sciences. The award-winning Rhys Carpenter Library, opened in 1997, is located in the M. Carey Thomas Library building and houses the collections in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology, Classics, History of Art, and Growth and Structure of Cities. The Lois and Reginald Collier Science Library was dedicated in 1993 and brings together the collections for Mathematics and the sciences. The library collections of Haverford and Swarthmore Colleges, which complement and augment those of Bryn Mawr, are freely accessible to students.

Tripod (http://tripod.brynmawr.edu), the library catalog, provides information about the more than three million books, journals, videos, sound recordings, and other materials in the Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore College collections. A large percentage of the Tri-College holdings are accessible online. Bryn Mawr students may use the Haverford and Swarthmore libraries and may also have material transferred from either of the other two campuses for pickup or use at Bryn Mawr, usually in less than 24 hours. Through the Library’s home page (www.brynmawr.edu/library), students may connect to Tripod; explore more than 200 subject-specific research databases; and tap into other library services and resources such as reference services, research consultation, reserve readings, interlibrary loan, etc.

Bryn Mawr maintains extensive relationships with other major academic libraries both in the region and worldwide. Through the consortial EZ-Borrow system, students can borrow materials from more than 30 academic libraries in the mid-Atlantic region. Students may also request items from libraries across North America through interlibrary loan.

Additional information about Bryn Mawr’s libraries and services may be accessed at www.brynmawr.edu/library.

Special Collections

The Special Collections Department, based in Canaday Library, houses extensive holdings of art, artifacts, archival materials, rare books, and manuscripts. Objects held in all of these collections are available to students for individual research and are also frequently used as teaching tools in the classroom and incorporated into exhibitions in libraries and other spaces across the campus.

Bryn Mawr has developed an extraordinarily rich Rare Books and Manuscripts collection to support the research interests of students and faculty. The collection of late medieval and Renaissance texts includes one of the country’s largest groups of books printed in the 15th century, as well as manuscript volumes and 16th-century printed books. Other important focuses of the collection are travel and exploration, women writers and women’s lives, the history of archaeology and museums, European and African cities, and important literature in early editions. Complementary to the rare books are collections of original letters, diaries and other unpublished documents. Bryn Mawr has important collections from the late 19th and 20th centuries, including papers and photographs relating to the women’s rights movement; the experiences of women, primarily Bryn Mawr graduates, travelling and working overseas; the papers of playwrights, writers, and scholars; and extensive collections of the letters, diaries, and scholarly works of Bryn Mawr faculty and alumnae.

The College Archives contains the historical records of Bryn Mawr, including the papers of the Presidents, and an extensive photographic collection that documents the social, intellectual, administrative, and personal aspects of campus activities and student life.

The Art and Artifacts collection includes objects of interest to students of anthropology, archaeology, the fine and decorative arts, geology, and related inter- and multi-disciplinary courses of study. The Anthropology collections include objects from around the world, with the largest portion of these collections originating from North America, South America and Africa. These collections comprise numerous categories of objects: African and Oceanic works, Southwest pottery and Native American ritual, functional, and decorative objects, and Pre-Columbian ceramics and textiles from present-day Peru, among many others. The Archaeology collections include an extensive group of Greek and Roman objects, especially vases, pre-classical antiquities, and objects from Egypt and the ancient Near East, many of which represent the interests of Bryn Mawr faculty from the beginnings of the college to the present day.

The Fine Art collections include important holdings of prints, drawings, photographs, paintings and sculpture. The painting collection of approximately 250 works is primarily composed of 19th- and 20th-century American and European works; a highlight is John Singer Sargent’s 1899 portrait of Bryn Mawr President M. Carey Thomas. The print collection illustrates the history of Western printmaking from the 15th through the mid-20th centuries and includes Old Master prints, art prints, and examples of 19th-century book illustrations. The collection also includes Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints, works in a wide range of media by contemporary women artists, Chinese paintings and calligraphy, and early, modern, and contemporary photography.