Special Collections

The Library’s Special Collections consist of 30,000 volumes with an emphasis on Anglican and Episcopal documents, early Bibles and editions of the Book of Common Prayer. Other significant holdings include works of 16th- through 19th-century English theology, editions of patristic texts, devotional works, and sermons from the 15th-20th centuries. The collection includes more than 120 incunabula (pre-16th century printed books) and a small but distinguished set of illuminated medieval manuscripts.

Included within the Special Collections are the GTS Archives, containing papers of many Episcopal bishops from Samuel Seabury to the present, diocesan convention and journal records, and records describing the history and mission of The General Theological Seminary. The mission of the Archives is to identify and preserve significant and unique records generated or received by the General Theological Seminary community that have enduring value and are past the period of active use.

Guidelines & Procedures
Handling & Care
Reproduction for Research Use
Permission to Publish

Guidelines & Procedures

Access to Special Collections materials is regulated to safeguard confidentiality and privacy in accordance with policies established by the Library.

Access to materials is by appointment only. We are not able to accommodate drop-ins. Twenty-four hours advance notice is required for all requests. Email Special Collections to make an appointment.

Researchers must complete and sign a Research Application once each fiscal year (July 1 – June 30) and must provide a photographic ID card, a copy of which will be kept on file.

All manuscripts and archival materials are housed in closed stacks. Readers may request particular items by submitting requests to a librarian in advance of their visit. The materials will be brought to the researcher in the designated Rare Book Reading Room. No material will be pulled for use after 4:15 p.m. Researchers may not take special collections materials to other areas of the library.

The Library reserves the right to inspect all research materials and personal belongings before a patron leaves the building.

Handling and Care of Special Collections Materials

Special collections materials may be used only in the Rare Book Reading Room, with the permission of the Reference Librarian or the Library Manager. The librarian will inspect all materials at the end of the appointment.

Researchers will be asked to leave all belongings in a locker (other than a laptop, pencil, and/or sheet of paper) while using Special Collections materials. Researchers will be asked to wash their hands before handling materials. Rare or fragile material may not be photocopied.

The researcher must accept the responsibility of handling carefully all materials made available. Manuscripts and archival materials are to be maintained in the order in which they are received by the researcher. If any material is discovered out of order, a librarian should be notified. Papers should not be rearranged. Manuscripts and books may not be leaned on, written on, folded, traced over or handled in any way that may damage them.

Researchers may be limited in the amount of material received at one time, usually no more than one item.

The use of ink is strictly prohibited.

No beverages are allowed when using Special Collections material in the Library, and smoking is prohibited.

All materials must be returned to the Librarian by 4:45 p.m. or before the researcher leaves the Library.

Mutilation, destruction and theft of Archives and Manuscripts materials are subject to prosecution.

Reproduction for Research Use

The Christoph Keller, Jr. Library will consider requests for reproduction of material when such duplication can be done without injury to the material and when duplication does not violate donor agreements or copyright law. Requests for reproduction will be considered on an individual basis. Requests for duplicating certain materials may require the approval of the Library Manager. Permission to reproduce does not constitute permission to publish.

Permission to Publish

Researchers should be aware that the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, USC) provides protection for unpublished materials as well as for published works. Permission to publish from or to quote from previously unpublished manuscripts or from published items under copyright first must be obtained from the copyright holder. It is the researcher’s responsibility to secure that permission. For original manuscript materials, the permission of the Christoph Keller, Jr. Library, as owner of the originals, is also required. In most instances, the Library does not hold the copyright to materials in its holdings.

For any use of the materials or content from the Keller Library’s Special Collections, the researcher must agree to acknowledge the Library as the source of the original material in published works. Use the credit line: Courtesy of the Christoph Keller, Jr. Library, General Theological Seminary, New York, NY.


When citing material from manuscript collections in this library, please use the following form: [Identification of the item and the title of the collection], [Identification of the record group or manuscript collection number], Special Collections, Christoph Keller, Jr. Library, General Theological Seminary.

Starting June 1st, the library will be reopened to the public. Visitors must be fully vaccinated and show proof at the front desk. Masks are not required for those who are fully vaccinated. Please keep the following guidelines in mind:

  • Maintain proper spacing at library tables 
  • Continue social distancing/don't crowd areas
  • Please wash your hands and use the hand sanitizer station by the library doors 

The library will close at 5pm on Thursday November 17th and at 1pm on Friday November 18th. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Thanksgiving Holiday Hours: 

Wednesday 11/23 9am-5pm 

Thursday 11/24-Sunday 11/27 CLOSED

 Fall Semester Hours

Monday-Thursday 9am-10pm
Friday 9am-5pm
Saturday 10am-6pm
Sunday 1pm-10pm

Learn about The Way of Wisdom Declaration by our Faculty,
and discover more about the Way of Wisdom in the
Keller Library News.