September 2016 | Nate Pedersen

Rare Books on Instagram (Part 1)

If you are not yet using Instagram, a social media app available on smart phones for sharing photos, you're missing out on some prime opportunities for oohing and aahing over rare books.  The app has been embraced by special collections libraries, and rare book sellers and collectors as a venue to showcase their marvelous holdings. There are hundreds of great rare book Instagram feeds from around the world.

Aimee Peake, proprietor of Bison Books in Winnipeg, a previous entry in our Bright Young Booksellers series, and an avid Instagram user herself (@bisonbooks), suggested we profile some of these rare book Instagram feeds on our blog. I put the call-out for recommendations on Twitter and the following streams bubbled up to the surface.  Note that today's post will focus on institutional accounts.  A follow-up post will profile booksellers and collectors.

And so, in no particular order, here we go!

The British Library (@britishlibrary)

IG1.jpgFisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto (@fisherlibrary)

IG2.jpgThe American Antiquarian Society (@americanantiquarian)

IG3.jpgW. D. Jordan Library, Queen's University (@jordan_library)


Houghton Library, Harvard (@houghtonlibrary)

IG5.jpgUniversity of Miami, Special Collections (@um_spec_coll)

IG6.jpgSan Francisco Public Library Book Arts (@sfplbookarts)

IG7.jpgUniversity of Texas at San Antonio (@utsaspeccoll)

IG8.jpgBoston Public Library, Norman B. Leventhal Map Center (@bplmaps)

IG9.jpgUniversity of Nevada at Las Vegas (@unlvspeccoll)


University of Iowa, Special Collections (@uispeccoll)

IG11.jpgMcGill Library and Archives (@mcgill_rare)

IG12.jpgFree Library of Philadelphia (@freelibraryrarebooks)

IG13.jpgMuhlenberg College Special Collections (@bergspecialcollections)

IG14.jpgLambeth Palace Library (@lampallib)


Congregrational Library & Archive (@congrelib)

IG16.jpgAmerican Bookbinders Museum (@american_bookbinders)


Northwestern University, Transportation Library (@transportationlibrary)

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Still hungry for more?  Check out a curated Wiki of institutional feeds.

Did we miss your favorite?  Drop me a line at or on Twitter @nate_pedersen