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Rare Books and Manuscripts Department

Online Catalogs

BPL has two online catalogs. You can access the same records through both, but each catalog presents search results and information in different ways.

Approximately 30% of Printed materials in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Department are currently listed in the online catalogs.

Click the images below to try each catalog.


Regardless of which catalog you use, it is important to remember that our card catalogs (see menu on the left) still contain the fullest and most accurate list of the department's holdings.


Card Catalogs

Librarian thumbing through a card fileMost of the materials in the BPL Rare Books & Manuscripts Department are listed in the department’s card catalogs.

A card catalog is a set of index cards used to store information about a collection. In a typical card catalog, each individual card describes a separate item. The Rare Books and Manuscripts Department maintains two separate card catalogs. One contains descriptions of printed materials; the other contains descriptions of manuscripts.

Each card catalog is accompanied by two additional sets of cards: a "geographic file," in which descriptions of materials are organized by place, and a chronological file, in which they are organized by date.

Card catalogs in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Department can be accessed in person or online, through this guide.


More about the card catalog

The card catalog is the best place to search for books and other printed materials. It fills 385 drawers and contains over 410,000 cards, filed in alphabetical order by author name. Where no author is known, cards are filed alphabetically by title. Materials related to certain special subjects, like “abolitionism,” or “music” are filed under author's name, as well as subject.

The card catalog is fully cross-referenced, meaning that multiple cards, each describing the same item, can be filed in several different places. For instance, cards describing a single letter from Jane Doe to John Smith, about an event during the American Civil War, might be filed under Doe, Jane, under Smith, John, and under United States--History--Civil War.

Geographic file

The geographic file lists materials alphabetically by place of creation, rather than by author or subject. 

Chronological file

The chronological file lists materials by date only, from oldest to newest.

The card catalog for books and printed materials is organized alphabetically by author. When no author is known, cards are organized by title.

The card catalog fills 385 drawers and contains over 410,000 individual catalog cards. Each of the links below leads to a digitized copy of one whole drawer of cards. Scroll through the list and click on the links to browse.

To carry out a limited keyword search, see the Keyword Searching tab above.

Browse catalog cards (printed material)

Scroll down iconDrawer 1. A-Accorso

Drawer 2. Account-Actors, American

Drawer 3. Actors, English-Adh

Drawer 4. Adi-Aes

Drawer 4a. Aes-Agr

Drawer 5. Agr-Alc

Drawer 6. Alcazar-Algebra

Drawer 7. Algebra, Extensive-Almanacs (A-F)

Drawer 8. Almanacs (G-Z)-Ama

Drawer 9. Amb-American coast

Drawer 10. American College-American Type

Drawer 11. American Union-Anda

Drawer 12. Ande-Annab

Drawer 13. Annal-Antom

Drawer 14. Anton-Arac

Drawer 15. Arag-Argy

Drawer 16. Aria-Arnim

Drawer 17. Arno-Asc

Drawer 18. Ase-Astronomical instruments

Drawer 19. Astronomical Journal-Astry

Drawer 20. Astu-Auk

Drawer 21. Aula-Avat

Drawer 22. Ave-Bacm

Drawer 23. Bacon-Baldy

Drawer 24. Bale-Bankette

Drawer 25. Bankr-Barius

Drawer 26. Barj-Bartolus

Drawer 27. Barton-Baxter's

Drawer 28. Bay-Bee

Drawer 29. Beebe-Benavente

Drawer 30. Benavides-Berry

Drawer 31. Berryman-Bible (texts)

Drawer 32. Bible (by subject, A-Z)-Bible, Old Testament, Samuel

Drawer 33. Bible, Old Testament, Song of Solomon-Bibliophist

Drawer 34. Biblioteca-Binn

Drawer 35. Birio-Bisco

Drawer 36. Bishop-Blix

Drawer 37. Bloch-Bolron

Drawer 38. Bolt-Book-keeper

Drawer 39. Bookkeeping-Bory

Drawer 40. Bos-Boston (by subject: A-Registry Dept.)

Drawer 40a. Boston (by subject: School Committee-Sun Fire Society)

Drawer 41. Boston (by subject: Tallow Chandlers-Streets. Zeigler Street)

Drawer 42. Boston (by subject: Taxation-wharves)-Boston plute

Drawer 43. Bot-Bowring, Sir John

Drawer 44. Bowyers-Brashears

Drawer 45. Brass-Bright

Drawer 46. Brighter-Broadsides (by country: A-Spain)

Drawer 47. Broadsides, U.S. (A-K)

Drawer 47a. Broadsides, U.S. (L-O)

Drawer 48. Broadsides, U.S. (P-Z)-Broadsides, facsimiles

Drawer 49. Broadsides (facsimiles)-Brown, Arthur M.

Drawer 50. Brown, Benj.-Browning, Robert (works by)

Drawer 51. Browning (works about)-Bryantville

Drawer 52. Bryce-Bulli

Drawer 53. Bullo-Burnap

Drawer 54. Burne-Jones-Butze

Drawer 55. Bux-Cairnes

Drawer 56. Cairo-Californische

Drawer 57. Caligula-Campaigns

Drawer 58. Campan-Canny

Drawer 59. Cano-Caricatures

Drawer 60. Carigal-Cartas

Drawer 61. Carte-Castleman

Drawer 62. Castlen-Cathec

Drawer 63. Cathedral-Caxton

Drawer 64. Cav-Ces

Drawer 65. Cesnola-Chapbooks

Drawer 66. Chapbooks (American)-Charleston Mercury

Drawer 67. Charleston Mass.-Chesney

Drawer 68. Chestnut-Childs

Drawer 69. Chile-Christel

Drawer 70. Christen-Chronology

Drawer 71. Chronometer-Church of England (establishment)

Drawer 71a. Church of England (liturgy and ritual)-Churches

Drawer 72. Churchill-Clairac

Drawer 73. Clairaut-Clemencin

Drawer 74. Clemens-Codding

Drawer 75. Code-Collatio

Drawer 76. Colle-Colmans

Drawer 77. Colme-Comh

Drawer 78. Comic-Compleat

Drawer 79. Complete-Confederacy

Drawer 80. Confederate's Polka March-Connected

Drawer 81. Connecticut-Converse

Drawer 82. Conversion-Cormn

Drawer 83. Cormon-Couailhac

Drawer 84. Coubine-Crafty

Drawer 85. Craggs-Crond

Drawer 86. Cronf-Cubd

Drawer 87. Cube-Cusr

Drawer 88. Cussons-Danby

Drawer 89. Danca-Darr

Drawer 90. Darses-Days

Drawer 91. Dayton-DeFlander

Drawer 91a. Defoe, Daniel (Collected works. Selections-Individual works, A-J)

Drawer 91b. Defoe, Daniel (Individual works, K-Robinson Crusoe)

Drawer 91c. Defoe, Daniel (Individual works, Robinson Crusoe-Y)

Drawer 92. DeFoix-Denham

Drawer 93. Denina-Devienne

Drawer 94. Devig-Dickdook

Drawer 95. Dicke-Dilworth

Drawer 96. Diman-Divoz

Drawer 97. Divo-Dona

Drawer 98. Donaghy-Doy

Drawer 99. Doyle-Drama (English. Law)

Drawer 100. Drama (European. French)-Dryander

Drawer 101. Dryden-Duguet

Drawer 102. Du Halde-Durbin

Drawer 103. Dutch-Easie

Drawer 104. East-Edgett

Drawer 105. Edgeville-Eisler

Drawer 106. Ek-Elliott

Drawer 107. Ellipse-Emerson

Drawer 108. Emery-England (by subject: A-Theatres)

Drawer 109. England (by subject Verse-Z)-English language (by subject: A-Punctuation)

Drawer 110. English language (by subject: R-writing)-English poetry

Drawer 111. English Pope-Epstein

Drawer 112. Equal-Essanto

Drawer 113. Essay-Europas

Drawer 114. European War. 1914-1919 (by subject: A-P)

Drawer 115. European War. 1914-1919 (by subject: R-Z)-Exmoor

Drawer 116. Exner-Fairyl

Drawer 117. Faith-Fate

Drawer 118. Father-Fenon

Drawer 119. Fenton-Fiction

Drawer 120. Fidalgo-Finly

Drawer 121. Finn-Flameng

Drawer 122. Flaming-Flushing

Drawer 123. Flute-Forjo

Drawer 124. Form-Fow

Drawer 125. Fox-France. Legation

Drawer 126. France. Marine-France (by subject: Antiquities-Heraldry)

Drawer 127. France (by subject: History-Z)-Franceschini

Drawer 128. Francesco d'Assisi-Franklin, Benjamin (works by)

Drawer 129. Franklin, Benjamin (biography)-Freducci

Drawer 130. Free-Frenc

Drawer 131. Frend-Frontenac

Drawer 132. Frontier-Functions

Drawer 133. Functions (Spherical)-Gallucci

Drawer 134. Gallup-Gardel

Drawer 134a. Garden-Garfield

Drawer 135. Gargantua-Gay neck

Drawer 136. Gaya-Gentlemen

Drawer 137. Gentlewoman-Geop

Drawer 138. Georg-Germany (maps)

Drawer 139. Germany (nationality)-Gilardone

Drawer 140. Gilbert-Gliddon

Drawer 141. Glide-Goldin

Drawer 142. Golding-Gorf

Drawer 143. Gorgeous-Granberg

Drawer 144. Grand-Great Bo

Drawer 145. Great Britain (Acts and laws-Parliament. House of Lords)

Drawer 146. Great Britain (Parliament, by date-Yearbooks)-Great Britain (Subject: A-Claims)

Drawer 147. Great Britain (by subject: Colonies-Historic houses)

Drawer 148. Great Britain (by subject: History. Baker-George II. Poetry)

Drawer 149. Great Britain (by subject: History. George III-Politics and Government, 1689-1702)

Drawer 150. Great Britain (by subject: Politics and Government, 18th century-Taxation)

Drawer 151. Great Britain (by subject: Theater-Zoology)-Greenl

Drawer 152. Greenough-Gromort

Drawer 153. Grondalla-Guilpin

Drawer 154. Guim-Haith

Drawer 155. Haiti-Hall's

Drawer 156. Hallam-Hanh

Drawer 157. Hanifen-Harril

Drawer 158. Harriman-Harver

Drawer 159. Harvest-Hayley

Drawer 160. Haym-Heig

Drawer 161. Heir-Hercules

Drawer 162. Herder-Heyv

Drawer 163. Heyward-Hinm

Drawer 164. Hindo-History (Ancient)

Drawer 165. History (Modern)-Hoadly

Drawer 166. Hoag-Holme

Drawer 167. Holmes-Hoper

Drawer 168. Hopes-Hou

Drawer 169. How-Hudspeth

Drawer 170. Hue-Hunters

Drawer 171. Hurtia-Hym

Drawer 172. Hynck-Illuss

Drawer 173. Illust-Incunabula (by author: A-Ari)

Drawer 174. Incunabula (by author: Ars-Lyr)

Drawer 175. Incunabula (by author: Mac-Zut)-Indagine

Drawer 176. Indarte-Indians of North Carolina

Drawer 176a. Indians of South America-Institoris

Drawer 177. Institut-Irem

Drawer 178. Irena-Italy (by subject: A-Education)

Drawer 179. Italy (by subject: Fine arts-Z)-Jacobi

Drawer 180. Jacobs-Jara

Drawer 181. Jardin-Jesu

Drawer 182. Jewett-Johnson, P.

Drawer 183. Johnson, R.-Jorg

Drawer 184. Jornada-Justicia

Drawer 185. Justification-Kelso

Drawer 186. Keltie-Kilner

Drawer 187. Kilpatrick-Klutschak

Drawer 188. Kluver-Kri

Drawer 189. Kroeber-Lafuente

Drawer 190. La Garaye-Landry

Drawer 191. Lands-Lark

Drawer 192. Larke-Lavoro

Drawer 193. Law-Ledyard

Drawer 194. Lee-Lekeux

Drawer 195. Lelaid-Lesko

Drawer 196. Lesl-Letter to

Drawer 197. Letter-Lexique

Drawer 198. Ley-Lig

Drawer 199. Ligg-Linc

Drawer 200. Lincoln, A. (by subject: A-Z)-Linforth

Drawer 201. Ling-Litt

Drawer 202. Liturgia-Loge

Drawer 203. Logic-London so

Drawer 204. London Stage-Lopez De Ayala

Drawer 205. Lopez, de Banos-Louisville Times

Drawer 206. Lounger-Luac

Drawer 207. Lu, Chi-Lyre

Drawer 208. Lyric-McGrath

Drawer 209. Mach-Macy

Drawer 210. Mad-Mai

Drawer 211. Mait-Mann

Drawer 212. Manners-Mar

Drawer 212a. Marb-Mari

Drawer 213. Marjorie-Martin

Drawer 214. Martin, W.-Mase

Drawer 215. Maser-Massachusetts (by subject: Acts and laws-Geological survey)

Drawer 216. Massachusetts (by subject: Governor-Medicine)

Drawer 217. Massachusetts (by subject: Militia-Zoology)-Math

Drawer 218. Mathematical-Matheo

Drawer 219. Mather-Matzer

Drawer 220. Mau-Medal

Drawer 221. Medals-Memoranda 

Drawer 222. Memoranda-Merle

Drawer 223. Merli-Mexico (by subject: A-Geography)

Drawer 224. Mexico (by subject: History-Z)-Milanes

Drawer 225. Milbert-Milscent

Drawer 226. Miltimore-Missel

Drawer 227. Missing-Modjeska

Drawer 228. Modo-Monk

Drawer 229. Monk, George-Moonshine

Drawer 230. Moor, James-Moreas, Jean

Drawer 231. Moreau-Morse and Shaw's

Drawer 231a. Morsels-Moulin

Drawer 232. Mouffle-Murphy

Drawer 233. Murray-Mythus

Drawer 234. N-Natti

Drawer 235. Natupe-Navy

Drawer 236. Naw-Neu

Drawer 237. Nev-New England Press

Drawer 237a. New England Primer-New Hampshire

Drawer 238. New Harmony-New York (Colony)

Drawer 239. New York (State)-Newspaper carriers

Drawer 240. News-Nizza

Drawer 241. No-Northwood

Drawer 242. Norton-Nuremberg

Drawer 243. Nurse-Offers

Drawer 244. Office-Olivarius

Drawer 245. Olive-Orcutt

Drawer 246. Ord-Othon

Drawer 247. Otia-Pacey

Drawer 248. Pach-Palmas

Drawer 249. Palmella-Parin

Drawer 250. Paris-Parlor

Drawer 251. Parlour-Patterson

Drawer 252. Patti-Pelzer

Drawer 253. Pember-Peoples

Drawer 254. Pepacton-Periodicals (English, A-O)

Drawer 255. Periodicals (English, P-Z)-Pertz

Drawer 256. Peru-Phenol

Drawer 257. Phi-Philpott

Drawer 258. Phin-Picus

Drawer 259. Pidal-Pir

Drawer 260. Pis-Pleasures

Drawer 261. Plebian-Poetisches

Drawer 262. Poetry-Polly

Drawer 263. Polo-Porteous

Drawer 264. Porter-Portuguez

Drawer 265. Portulani-Preceptor

Drawer 266. Preces-Priestesses

Drawer 266a. Priesthood-Printed

Drawer 267. Printers-Prioleau

Drawer 268. Prior-Prophecies

Drawer 269. Prophecy-Pryce

Drawer 270. Pryde-Puzzlecap

Drawer 271. Puzzles-Quinones y Zuniga

Drawer 272. Quint-Randol

Drawer 273. Randolph-Razzolini

Drawer 273a. Re-Reedy

Drawer 274. Reef-Remaking

Drawer 275. Remark-Revell

Drawer 276. Revels-Rhymings

Drawer 277. Rhys-Rilke

Drawer 278. Rima-Robertus

Drawer 279. Robeson-Rogers, H.

Drawer 280. Rogers, J.-Romayne

Drawer 281. Rombauer-Rossetti

Drawer 282. Rossi-Royaute

Drawer 283. Royce-Rutebeuf

Drawer 284. Ruter-Sacont

Drawer 285. Sacra-Salamina

Drawer 286. Salas-Sanchez 

Drawer 287. Sanchico-Satirist

Drawer 288. Satisfaction-Schiller's

Drawer 289. Schilling-Sckell

Drawer 290. Sclater-Scraggs

Drawer 291. Scrap-Secker

Drawer 292. Seco-Sepulveda

Drawer 293. Sequirira-Sewall

Drawer 294. Seward-Shakespeare (works by language: A-Spanish)

Drawer 295. Shakespeare (poems-works by title: A-King Richard II)

Drawer 296. Shakespeare (works by title: King Richard III-Venus)-Shakespeare (works, spurious)

Drawer 297. Shakespeare (by subject: actors-drama)

Drawer 298. Shakespeare (by subject: editions-translations)

Drawer 299. Shakespeare (by subject: versification-yearbook)-Shenton

Drawer 300. Shepard-Short supply.

Drawer 301. Short talk-Simmons

Drawer 302. Simms-Slaughter

Drawer 302a. Slave-Slavery in the South

Drawer 303. Slavery in the U.S.-Slythe

Drawer 304. Smail-Smyth

Drawer 305. Smyth-Soldeville

Drawer 306. Soldier-Songs about life

Drawer 307. Songs & ballads-Southeby

Drawer 308. Southern-Spain (by subject: A-Foreign Relations)

Drawer 309. Spain (by subject: Geography-Laboring class)

Drawer 310. Spain (by subject: language-Z)-Spalatin

Drawer 311. Spalding-Speechly

Drawer 312. Speed-Staff

Drawer 313. Stafford-Stars (distribution)

Drawer 314. Stars, double-Stephens's

Drawer 315. Stephenson-Stoc

Drawer 316. Stoddard-Strassen

Drawer 317. Strat-Suk

Drawer 318. Sul-Swar

Drawer 319. Swaz-Sz

Drawer 320. T-Tara

Drawer 321. Tarbe-Tee

Drawer 322. Tee-Tert

Drawer 323. Tertullian-Theater, in favor of

Drawer 324. Theater, in opposition to-Theobald

Drawer 325. Theobrome-Thompson, E.

Drawer 326. Thompson, F.-Tieve

Drawer 327. Tiffany-Toldi

Drawer 328. Tole-Tragedian

Drawer 329. Tragedie-Tricks

Drawer 330. Trigo-Tubbs

Drawer 331. Tube-Tyng

Drawer 332. Type-U.S. Army

Drawer 333. U.S. Army A.G.O.-U.S. District Court

Drawer 334. U.S. Engineer Dept.-U.S. Church history

Drawer 334a. U.S. civilization-U.S. history (study and teaching)

Drawer 335. U.S. history (colonial period)- (Revolution, poetry)

Drawer 336. U.S. history (Revolution, portraits)-(Civil War, caricatures)

Drawer 336a. U.S. history, Civil War (causes-personal narratives, A-M)

Drawer 337. U.S. history, Civil War (personal narratives N-Z)-U.S. literature (influence)

Drawer 338. U.S. literature (poetry)-U.S. taxation

Drawer 339. U.S. theaters-Utrum

Drawer 340. Uttenhofer-Van Dyke

Drawer 341. Vane-Vega y Carpio, L.F. De, Poesias

Drawer 342. Vega y Carpio, L.F. De. Por La Puente-Verbiest

Drawer 343. Verbs-Vidal

Drawer 344. Vidalin-Virginia. War Office

Drawer 345. Virginia. Citizens-Voltaire

Drawer 346. Volterra-Wah

Drawer 347. Wai-Wanck

Drawer 348. Wand-Washington, George (correspondence)

Drawer 348a. Washington, George (farewell address-inauguration)

Drawer 349. Washington, George (medals)-Watson, Evelyn

Drawer 350. Watson, F.-Weemes

Drawer 351. Weems, Mason L.-West Hendon

Drawer 351a. West India Association-West Indies

Drawer 352. West Laurel-Whig

Drawer 353. Whig-Whitlock

Drawer 354. Whitman-Wilde

Drawer 355. Wilde-Willyoung

Drawer 356. Wilme-Wishart

Drawer 357. Wishes-Wolves

Drawer 358. Woman-Women (legal status)

Drawer 359. Women (legal status)-Women's work

Drawer 360. Wonalansett-World Peace Foundation

Drawer 361. World Politics-Xylander

Drawer 362. Y-Young, William

Drawer 363. Young Abolitionists-Zaragoza

Drawer 364. Zarate-Zyrychzee

The default view for all digitized catalog cards is in the form of a book reader. With the scroll bar, you can navigate quickly through the whole drawer, or you can click from one card to the next using the "left" and "right" arrows. Limited keyword searching across the entire main entry file is available through the Internet Archive collections page. See the Keyword search tab above for detailed instructions.

The geographic file for printed material contains 114,000 bibliographic records on individual catalog cards filed alphabetically by place of creation. While the geographic file contains cards for less than half of the printed items in the BPL Rare Books and Manuscripts Department, it is still a useful entry point into the collections.

In the geographic file, most records are filed by continent, then country, then state/province, then city. Additionally:

  • Books published in Ireland or in the U.K. are filed chronologically under Europe-->British Isles-->country-->city
  • Books published in the West Indies are filed chronologically under North America-->West Indies-->country-->city

Click on the links below to browse the cards online.

Browse geographic file cards (printed material)

File 1. Place not specified

United States (by state, city, and date)

File 1a. Alabama (Birmingham)-Colorado (Sterling)

File 2. Connecticut (place not specified-New Haven, 1799)

File 3. Connecticut (New Haven, 1800)-District of Columbia (1809)

File 4. District of Columbia (1810-1863)

File 5. District of Columbia (1864)-Illinois (Chicago, 1939)

File 6. Illinois (Chicago, 1940)-Maine (Portland, 1839)

File 7. Maine (Portland, 1840)-Massachusetts (Andover, 1829)

File 8. Massachusetts (Andover, 1830-Boston, 1721)

File 9. Massachusetts (Boston, 1722-1738)

File 10. Massachusetts (Boston, 1739-1759)

File 11. Massachusetts (Boston, 1760-1777)

File 12. Massachusetts (Boston, 1778-1795)

File 13. Massachusetts (Boston, 1796-1805)

File 14. Massachusetts (Boston, 1806-1813)

File 15. Massachusetts (Boston, 1814-1821)

File 16. Massachusetts (Boston, 1822-1826)

File 17. Massachusetts (Boston, 1827-1830)

File 18. Massachusetts (Boston, 1831-1833)

File 19. Massachusetts (Boston, 1834-1837)

File 20. Massachusetts (Boston, 1837-1841)

File 21. Massachusetts (Boston, 1842-1853)

File 22. Massachusetts (Boston, 1854-1866)

File 23. Massachusetts (Boston, 1867-1880)

File 24. Massachusetts (Boston, 1881-1887)

File 25. Massachusetts (Boston, 1888-1903)

File 26. Massachusetts (Boston, 1904-1929)

File 27. Massachusetts (Boston, 1930-2001)

File 28. Massachusetts (Bridgewater-Cambridge, 1889)

File 29. Massachusetts (Cambridge, 1890-Haverhill)

File 30. Massachusetts (Hingham-Plymouth)

File 31. Massachusetts (Princeton-Worcester, 1810s?)

File 32. Massachusetts (Worcester, 1820)-New Hampshire (Dover)

File 33. New Hampshire (Exeter)-New Jersey (Teaneck)

File 34. New Jersey (Trenton)-New York (Brooklyn)

File 35. New York (Buffalo-New York, 1794)

File 36. New York (New York, 1795-1816)

File 37. New York (New York, 1817-1827)

File 38. New York (New York, 1828-1835)

File 39. New York (New York, 1836-1845)

File 40. New York (New York, 1846-1865)

File 41. New York (New York, 1866-1896)

File 42. New York (New York, 1897-1917)

File 43. New York (New York, 1918-1934)

File 44. New York (New York, 1935-1947)

File 45. New York (New York, 1948-1984)

File 46. New York (New York, 1985)-Ohio (Circleville)

File 47. Ohio (Cleveland)-Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, 1779)

File 48. Pennsylvania (Philadelphia 1780-1800)

File 49. Pennsylvania (Philadelphia 1801-1817)

File 50. Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, 1818-1831)

File 51. Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, 1832-1840)

File 52. Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, 1840-1959)

File 53. Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, 1961)-South Carolina (Charlestown, 1839)

File 54. South Carolina (Charlestown, 1840)-Virginia (Lynchburg)

File 55. Virginia (Norfolk)-Wyoming

North and South America

File 56. West Indies (Antigua)-Canada (Nova Scotia)

File 57. Canada (Ontario)-Venezuela

Europe and the U.K.

File 57a. Austria

File 58. Belgium-England (Birkdale)

File 59. England (Birmingham-London, undated)

File 60. England (London, 1491-1614)

File 61. England (London, 1615-1638)

File 62. England (London, 1639-1648)

File 63. England (London, 1649-1659)

File 64. England (London, 1660-1676)

File 65. England (London, 1677-1685)

File 66. England (London, 1686-1694)

File 67. England (London, 1695-1701)

File 68. England (London, 1702-1706)

File 69. England (London, 1707-1710)

File 70. England (London, 1710-1713)

File 71. England (London, 1713-1716)

File 72. England (London, 1716-1719)

File 73. England (London, 1720-1725)

File 74. England (London, 1726-1733)

File 75. England (London, 1734-1748)

File 76. England (London, 1749-1763)

File 77. England (London, 1764-1775)

File 78. England (London, 1776-1787)

File 79. England (London, 1788-1798)

File 80. England (London, 1799-1814)

File 81. England (London, 1815-1828)

File 82. England (London, 1829-1846)

File 83. England (London, 1847-1875)

File 84. England (London, 1876-1905)

File 85. England (London, 1906-1931)

File 86. England (London, 1932-Montrose)

File 87. England (Newark-York)

File 88. Ireland (Belfast-Dublin, 1909)

File 89. Ireland (Dublin, 1910)-Scotland (Stonypath)

File 90. Wales (Aberstwyth)-France (Paris, 1539)

File 91. France (Paris, 1540-1719)

File 92. France (Paris, 1720-1783)

File 93. France (Paris, 1784-1792)

File 94. France (Paris, 1793-1824)

File 95. France (Paris, 1825-1869)

File 96. France (Paris, 1870-1945)

File 97. France (Paris, 1946)-Germany (Bellinoza)

File 98. Germany (Berlin-Frankfurt, 1700)

File 99. Germany (Frankfurt, 1701-Leipzig, 1865)

File 100. Germany (Leipzig, 1866-Trier)

File 101. Germany (Tubingen)-Italy (Messina)

File 102. Italy (Milan-Venice, 1489)

File 103. Italy (Venice, 1490-1599)

File 104. Italy (Venice, 1600)-Netherlands (Amsterdam, 1738)

File 105. Netherlands (Amsterdam, 1740)-Norway (Oslo)

File 106. Poland (Braunsberg-)-Spain (Barcelona)

File 107. Spain (Bilbao-Montserrat)

File 108. Spain (Najera)-Switzerland (Frick)

File 109. Switzerland (Geneva-Zurich)

Africa, Asia, and Australia

File 109a: Africa, Asia, and Australia

The default view for all digitized catalog cards is in the form of a book reader. With the scroll bar, you can navigate quickly through the whole drawer, or you can click from one card to the next using the "left" and "right" arrows. Limited keyword searching across the entire main entry file is available through the Internet Archive collections page. See the Keyword search tab above for detailed instructions.

The chronological file for printed materials contains approximately 65,000 bibliographic records on individual catalog cards, filed by year of publication. Within each year, records are organized alphabetically by author or, where no author is known, by title.

While the chronological file for printed materials contains records for only a fraction of the collections in the BPL Rare Books and Manuscripts Department, it is still a valuable entry point into the collections.

Click on the links below to browse the cards online.

Browse chronological file cards (printed material)

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File 1. undated-1518

File 2. 1519-1549

File 3. 1550-1574

File 4. 1575-1598

File 5. 1599-1626

File 6. 1627-1644

File 7. 1645-1659

File 8. 1660-1676

File 9. 1676-1683

File 10. 1684-1691

File 11. 1692-1699

File 12. 1700-1703

File 13. 1704-1707

File 14. 1708-1710

File 15. 1711-1713

File 16. 1713-1715

File 17. 1716-1718

File 18. 1718-1721

File 19. 1722-1726

File 20. 1726-1730

File 21. 1731-1737

File 22. 1738-1743

File 23. 1744-1750

File 24. 1751-1757

File 25. 1758-1763

File 26. 1764-1769

File 27. 1770-1774

File 28. 1774-1777

File 29. 1778-1782

File 30. 1783-1786

File 31. 1787-1789

File 32. 1790-1791

File 33. 1792-1793

File 34. 1793-1795

File 35. 1795-1797

File 36. 1797-1799

File 37. 1800

File 38. 1801-1805

File 39. 1805-1809

File 40. 1809-1812

File 41. 1813-1816

File 42. 1817-1820

File 43. 1821-1824

File 44. 1824-1826

File 45. 1827-1830

File 46. 1830-1834

File 47. 1835-1839

File 48. 1839-1844

File 49. 1845-1849

File 50. 1850-1854

File 51. 1855-1860

File 52. 1860-1863

File 53. 1864-1868

File 54. 1868-1874

File 55. 1875-1881

File 56. 1881-1885

File 57. 1886-1893

File 58. 1893-1900

File 59. 1901-1909

File 60. 1910-1919

File 61. 1920-1926

File 62. 1927-1930

File 63. 1931-1937

File 64. 1937-1942

File 65. 1943-1950

File 66. 1951-1961

File 67. 1962-1972

File 68. 1973-1984

File 69. 1985-2001


The default view for all digitized catalog cards is in the form of a book reader. With the scroll bar, you can navigate quickly through the whole drawer, or you can click from one card to the next using the "left" and "right" arrows. Limited keyword searching across the entire main entry file is available through the Internet Archive collections page. See the Keyword search tab above for detailed instructions.

This set of 173,000 cards contains shelf lists for a number of different call number ranges. In general, materials within each range are listed in numerical order. In some cases, sequences are broken out by size (folio, portfolio, broadside); in other cases, books of different sizes are presented within the same sequence.

While many of these files still accurately reflect the collections to which they correspond, others do not. Some lists date to the early 20th century and, over time, books may have been deaccessioned, transferred to other curatorial departments, or reclassified. However, researchers might still find these lists valuable for the comprehensive overview of collections that they can provide.

Additionally, cards in these files often contain brief notes about acquisition of the materials described. In many cases, this acquisition information is not readily available in other sources.

Browse catalog cards (shelf list)

Scroll down iconFile 1. A.1-A.399

File 2. A.400-A.1169

File 3. A.1170-A.1749

File 4. A.1750-A.2288

File 5. A.2289-A.2999

File 6. A.3000-A.3839

File 7. A.3840-A.4339

File 8. A.4340-A.5139

File 9. A.5140-A.5699

File 10. A.5700-A.6599

File 11. A.6600-A.7479

File 12. A.7480-A.8499

File 13. A.8500-A.9099

File 14. A.9100-A.9995.2

File 16.1. Abbe 

File 16.2. Adams (folios)

File 17. Adams.10-199

File 18.1. Adams.200-849; Add.1

File 18.2. Artz Cab.

File 19. B.110.2-

File 20. B.4110-B.4199

File 21. B.4200-B.4299

File 22. B.4300-B.6039

File 23. B.6040-B.6087

File 24. B.6088-B.6109B

File 25.1. BAC

File 25.2. BLS

File 25.3. BLS xb (broadsides)

File 25.4. BLS pb, Xxb (flat boxed)

File 25.5. BLS folio

File 26.1. BLSA

File 26.2. Bentley

File 27. Benton

File 28. Cab.1-Cab.23.59

File 29. Cab.23.60-Cab.29

File 30. Cab.30-Cab.39

File 31. C-Ch.

File 32. D.Cab.-D.137

File 33. D.140-D.159

File 34. D.160-D.178

File 35. D.180-D.232

File 36. D.233-D.602

File 37. D.604-D.P.967

File 38. D. xb and pf (broadsides and portfolios)

File 38.1. Defoe MS.1-Defoe.21.S89 1840

File 39. Defoe.21.T-Defoe.30.695

File 40. Defoe.30.696-Defoe.30.710.A4E

File 41. Defoe.30.712.A66C-Defoe.30.725.A10E2

File 42.1 Defoe.30.725.A10F-Defoe.977.A10R

File 42.2 Defoe b, f, m, pf (broadsides, folios, mini, portfolios)

File 43. Cab.E-E.195

File 44. E.196.1-E.230.25

File 45. E.500-E.750

File 46. E.751-E.999

File 47. E.5010-E.5081

File 48. E.5082-E.5123

File 49. E.5124-E.5143

File 50. E.5145-E.5147; E. alt sizes

File 51. F.

File 52. F. (unclassed, A-Z)

File 53. Fel.

File 54. Fr.10-Fr.73

File 55. Fr.76-Fr.993

File 56. G.10-G.60

File 57. G.61-G.154

File 58. G.155-G.226

File 59. G.227-G.294

File 60. G.295-G.306

File 61. G.307-G.322.10

File 62. G.322.11-G.355.75

File 63. G.355.76-G.375.40

File 64. G.375.41-G.386

File 65. G.387-G.389A.350

File 66. G.389A.352-G.402

File 67. G.403-G.520

File 68. G.521-G.684

File 69. G.685-G.794

File 70. G.795-G.3345

File 71. G.3346-G.3530

File 72. G.3531-G.3631

File 73. G.3632-G.3656

File 74. G.3657-G.3770

File 75. G.3771-G.3854

File 76. G.3855-G.3941

File 77. G.3942-G.3970

File 78. G.3971-G.4015

File 79. G.4016-G.4079

File 80. G.A-G.P950

File 81. G.P951-G.Z

File 82. G.Cab.

File 83. f.G.Cab-f.G299

File 84. f.G.300-f.G.698

File 85. f.G.700-f.G.4076.101

File 86. f.G.A-fG.Z

File 87. pf.G.; b.G.; pb.G; xb.G

File 88. H.00-H.17.180

File 89. H.17.181-H.26.101

File 90. H.26.102-H.36

File 91. H.37-H.63

File 92. H.64-H.80.99

File 93. H.80.100-H.85

File 94. H.86-H.89.150

File 95. H.89.151-H.90

File 96. H.90A-H.91.50

File 97. H.91.51-H.95.50

File 98. H.95.51-H.98

File 99. H.99-H.99B.124

File 100. H.99B.125-H.99D

File 101. H.99E-H.710.L

File 102. H.710.M-H.716D

File 103. H.716E-H.739

File 104. H.741-H.774

File 105. H.775-H.799

File 106. H.800-H.817

File 107. H.818-H.834

File 108. H.835-H.899

File 109. H.900-H.C774

File 110. H.C.775-H.W83

File 111. b.H; pb.H-pb.H.810

File 112. pb.H.815-end; xb.H; f.H-f.H.80

File 113. f.H.81-end; pf.H; J-J.814

File 114. J.815-end; Juv.-Juv.399

File 115. Juv.401-end; K.10-K.23

File 116. K.24-K.58

File 117. K.60-K.137

File 118. K.138-K.205

File 119. K.206-K.270

File 120. K.271-end; L.01-L.22

File 121. L.23-L.65

File 122. L.66-L.775

File 123. L.776-L.M867

File 124. L.N592-end; L.various sizes; MS (printed forms); Newspapers, by title: A-B

File 125. Newspapers (by title) C-Z; O-O'Reilly

File 126. P.10-P.19

File 127. P.20-P.55

File 128. P.60-P.83

File 129. P.84-P.85

File 130. P.86-Q.17

File 131. Q.18-Q.56

File 132. Q.57-Q.62

File 133. Q.63-Q.114

File 134. Q.115-Q.209

File 135. Q.210-Q.924

File 133. Q.925-end; b.Q.; f.Q.2.36-f.Q.459

File 134. f.Q.474-end, alt sizes R.

File 135. S.; T.Cab-T.36-49

File 136. T.36.50-T.46.105

File 137. T.47-T.56.399

File 138. T.56.400-T.71

File 139. T.72-T.79

File 140. T.83-T.96

File 141. T.97-end; T. alt. sizes

File 142. 20th Cab.-20th.22

File 143. 20th.23-20th.45

File 144. 20th.46-20th.50A

File 145. 20th.51-20th.91

File 146. 20th.92-20th.302Y

File 147. 20th.305-20th.end; 20th. alt sizes

File 148. Vatt.; W.1-W.40.24

File 149. W.40.26-end; W. alt. sizes

File 150. W.A.D.; Whitman.1-10

File 151. Whitman.11-end; Wyman; X; Z.1-Z.26

File 152. Z.27-Z.99

File 153. Z alt. sizes; Reserve

File 154. Reserve

File 155. (LC) A-BS

File 156. (LC) BT-BX9225

File 157. (LC) BX9420-DA690

File 158. (LC) DA725-DS686

File 159. (LC) DS708-E338

File 160. (LC) E340-F72

File 161. (LC) F73-F2976

File 162. (LC) F3031-HN

File 163. (LC) HQ-KDK

File 164. (LC) KE-ND

File 165. (LC) NE-PN4959

File 166. (LC) PN5022-PQ6675

File 167. (LC) PQ7001-PR3699

File 168. (LC) PR3704-PR6003

File 169. (LC) PR6005-PS2249

File 170. (LC) PS2250-PS3552

File 171. (LC) PS3553-PZ3.G

File 172. (LC) PZ3.H-PZ9

File 173. (LC) PZ10-RJ

File 174. (LC) RM-XZ

File 175. (LC) Z1-Z989

File 176. (LC) Z990-ZZ6040

File 177. (LC) Folio C-N

File 178. (LC) Folio P-Z; Pb; Pf

File 179. Miniature books

File 180. Research Library 2111-5069

File 181. Research Library 5072-7597

File 182. Research Library 7600-end; RL folio; Artists, illustrators, etc (by name): A-He

File 183. Artists, illustrators, etc (by name): Hi-Z



The default view for all digitized catalog cards is in the form of a book reader. With the scroll bar, you can navigate quickly through the whole drawer, or you can click from one card to the next using the "left" and "right" arrows. Limited keyword searching across the entire main entry file is available through the Internet Archive collections page. See the Keyword search tab above for detailed instructions.

Card catalog searching guide

1. Do you know the author's name, or the name of a person who is associated with the item, like the recipient of a letter or the subject of a biography?

  • Yes. Go to the digitized card catalog (above) and search by name. If the work is anonymous, search under the title.
  • No. If you do not know the name of an author or creator, go to step 2.

2. Do you know the place where the item was created?

  • Yes. Go to the geographic file (above) and search by place.
  • No. If you do not know the place of creation, go to step 3.

3. Do you know the date when the item was created?

  • Yes. Go to the chronological file (above) and search by date.
  • No. If you do not know when the item was created, go to step 4.

4. Is the item you’re looking for related to a particular subject, like mathematics or astronomy; or is it a particular kind of book or manuscript, like a diary or a Bible?

  • Yes. Search the digitized card catalog (above) by the subject or type of material. Certain special subjects and types of books and manuscripts have their own sections.
  • No. If you can't find your item by subject, go to step 5.

5. Can you think of ay keywords associated with the item?

  • Yes. Go to the keyword search tab, above.
  • No. Contact the Rare Books and Manuscripts Department. Just because something does not appear in our card catalogs, or elsewhere on our website, doesn’t mean we don’t have what you’re looking for!

Reading Catalog Cards

The information found in catalog cards is typically structured in order to be consistent from one card to the next. Information is also formulated to adhere to cataloging standards. So, for example, names are typically recorded last-name-first, certain abbreviations are used regularly, and the extent of an item (how many pages it contains) is recorded in a very particular way. Understanding where these pieces of info typically appear and what they usually look like will make it easier to use the card catalog. See the explanations below.


1. Author name. Allen, Joseph, Bp. of Ely, d. 1845

This is the name of the person primarily responsibly for the creation of the item. In this case, we are looking at a description of a letter written by Joseph Allen, Bishop of Ely (1770-1845).

2. Other associated name. To A[nthony] Panizzi

Anthony Panizzi was the recipient of this letter. Brackets typically enclose words or letters not found in the original manuscript. So in this case, we can assume that the name of the recipient appears in the letter as "A. Panizzi."

3. Date of creation. 1847 May 17

This is the date on which the item was created. The date typically appears in the upper-left portion of the card. If no date is known, cards are sometimes marked "n.d." (for no date). If date and month, but not year, are known, cards are sometimes marked "n.y." (for no year)

4. Place. [Dover St. London]

This is the place where the item was created. Usually this information is taken directly from the item. If it is not found on the item, but has been added to the description by the cataloger, it will usually be enclosed in brackets, as with this example.

5. Summary. Would be glad to purchase the brass bishop for the Cathedral . . .

This is a brief summary of the content of the item. These summaries are sometimes very lengthy, containing direct quotes. At other times, they can be very brief. Often they are omitted entirely.

6. Call number. G.51.7.1 no. 15.

A call number is a unique ID given to every item in the collection. A call number tells librarians where the item is stored. If you end up requesting to see a particular item, remember to always include the call number in your request. If you're not sure where the call number begins or ends, it's always better to include more info than less.

7. Extent and size. 2 pp. 4 1/2 x 7 1/2 cm.

In this area, the extent of an item (how many pages it's made up of) and the full size of the item is recorded. In this particular note, "pp." stands for pages -- the letter is two pages long and it measures 4.5 x 7.5 cm.

BPL's digitized card catalogs are hosted online by Internet Archive. Each card catalog has been digitized along with the geographic and chronological files that go along with it. Limited keyword searching within the card catalogs and their accompanying files is available through the Internet Archive collection page for each:

For best results, and to fully understand the significant limitations of keyword searching, please read the guide below.

Guide to keyword searching

To perform a limited keyword search of all cards in any specific catalog, first go to the Internet Archive collection page for the catalog you want to search.

Each collection page will have a search box on the left side of the screen. There are two buttons underneath the search box. Select the "text contents" button, type your query into the search box, then hit "enter." Files that contain matching results will appear. Click on each file to browse any cards that matched your search.


Once you have clicked on the file, you will see one or more blue marks along the scroll bar in the book reader. These marks show the locations of cards that contain text matching your search. You can scroll to the matches, or navigate directly to them using the arrow buttons above the scroll bar.

Limitations of searching

Search results should never be considered complete. The search engine relies on text files that have been automatically generated from digitized images of the cards themselves. The process of generating machine-readable text from images is called optical character recognition (OCR). OCR is far from perfect. Blurry or poorly printed cards, handwritten notes close to text, and even different typefaces can all render text generated via OCR extremely unreliable.

Above, a standard catalog card, with small, slightly blurred text. Below, the searchable text file generated from this image is partially garbled.

Note on Harmful Language

Boston Public Library catalog records describe historical materials that reflect the attitudes, ideas, and norms of the time periods and cultures in which they were created. Researchers using these records might therefore encounter direct quotations or detailed descriptions of original documents that incorporate inappropriate or harmful language used to describe persons and events. This includes language that is racist, misogynistic, homophobic, or ableist.

Furthermore, while the Boston Public Library strives to catalog its collections in an equitable and inclusive manner, we recognize that this has not always been the case. The majority of the records contained in our legacy card catalogs, for example, are decades old and reflect the prevailing biases of the time periods in which they were created.

Card catalogs also reflect the biases of the librarians, staff members, and affiliates who created them. Descriptions of materials contained in our card catalogs -- including titles, subject headings, and summary notes -- sometimes also contain harmful language and often prioritize access to information about white, male creators, while deprioritizing description and access to materials about women and people of color.

Because many of the electronic records contained in our online catalogs were copied over directly from cards, outdated and harmful language was sometimes carried over as well.

Catalog cards and electronic catalog records derived from catalog cards have been made available online because the access that they provide to primary source materials is uniquely valuable to the research community at large. Our efforts to repair outdated descriptions and to describe our collections more equitably are iterative and ongoing.

Contact & Reading Room Hours

Contact us!

Rare Books and Manuscript Department
Boston Public Library
700 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02116

Reading Room Hours:


  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 9:30-4:30
  • Thursday: 9:30-4:30
  • Friday: 9:30-4:30
  • Saturday- Sunday: Closed