Skip to main content

Library Collections

Libraries with notable comics and graphic novel collections

Detailed descriptions in progress -- please comment if you know about a collection that's missing. Many thanks to Carol Tilley, whose Oxford University Press blog post was the inspiration for this list, and to Randall Scott for his extensive documentation of most of these collections.


Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, OH)
 Ray & Pat Browne Popular Culture Library has several comics-related special collections, accessible from their special collections page and LibGuide, as well as comics-related materials in their manuscript collections.

Brown University (Providence, RI)
• Special Collections hold the Michael J. Ciaraldi Comics Collection, 60,000 items mostly consisting of American comic books of the 1970s-1990s, and the Wayne D. Poulin Comics Collection, approximately 10,000, mostly American superhero comics.

California Polytechnic State Univeristy (San Luis Obispo, CA)
• Moore Collection of Underground Comix is the collection of the publisher Michael Moore, which includes hundreds of comics, mostly underground works from the 1960s and 1970s; can be accessed through the Fine Printing and Graphic Arts page.

The Carolina Manga Library (traveling collection based in SC)

• https://carolinamangalibrary.com/

The Cartoon Art Museum (San Francisco, CA)
• https://www.cartoonart.org/

The Center for Cartoon Studies (White River Junction, VT)
• The Schultz Library supports the students and faculty of the Center for Cartoon Studies with its collection of contemporary graphic novels, zines, student and faculty work, to our out-of-print and rare collections of gag cartoons and classic newspaper strips, as well as an extensive collection of books about cartooning, both academic and instructional. Members of the public and academics can visit the collection during open hours, and borrowing privileges may be purchased for an annual fee but are limited to ensure resources are available to students. The collection is not accessible through interlibrary loan. The Schultz Library and its catalog may be viewed at its website.

Cleveland State University (Cleveland, OH
• http://www.clevelandmemory.org/cartoons/index.html

Columbia University (New York, NY)
• Butler Library has a circulating collection of 10,000+ graphic novels in more than a dozen languages; guidance in searching for these materials may be found on the "Finding titles in CLIO" section of their finding aid, and all or most can be found in their library catalog with this search.
• Rare Book and Manuscript Collection contains an impressive set of papers from creators, publishers, and more including Chris Claremont, Wendy and Richard Pini, and Kitchen Sink Press; can be accessed from the "Archival Collections" section of their finding aid.

Drew University (Madison, NJ)

Special Collections hold the Harry A. Chesler Collection of Cartoon Art and Graphic Satire (formerly held at Farleigh Dickinson University), 2600+ works of American, British, and continental European humor comics and caricature including those gathered as the Richard S. Wormser Collection of Graphic Satire.

Duke University (Durham, NC)
The David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library holds the Comic Book and Graphic Novel Collection, which includes 10,000+ works form 1938 to 2012 from a wide range of creators and publishers. Also in the Rubenstein Library are the Edwin and Terry Murray Comic Book Collection (article on its cataloging process here) and the Edwin and Terry Murray Fanzine Collection.
• The Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture includes a zine collection with many comics-oriented zines and features the papers of cartoonist Sarah Dyer and many zines from her personal collection.

Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL)
• Special Collections and Archives holds the Robert M. Ervin, Jr. Collection, which includes dozens of boxes of comic books from the 1950s through the 1970s as well as additional works related to comics history and criticism, and the Alicia Korenman Graphic Novel Collection, which consists largely of non-mainstream comics collected to examine their depiction of women in comparison to that in mainstream comics.

Iowa State University (Ames, IA)
Special Collections and University Archives holds the Clay Geerdes Historical Underground Photographs, a collection of photographs of several underground cartoonists from 1970s, and the Underground Comix Collection, 63 boxes of underground comic books mostly from the 1960s through the 1980s and correspondence between ISU Special Collections staff and comics creators and sellers.

Kent State (Kent, OH)
• P. Craig Russell Papers
  https://www.library.kent.edu/special-collections-and-archives/p-craig-russell-papers
• Crankshaft 2000 Story Arc
  https://www.library.kent.edu/special-collections-and-archives/crankshaft-comic-strip-story-arc-2000-box-185

The Library of Congress (Washington, DC)
• Serials Division
  http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/awhhtml/awser2/comic_books.html
• Caroline and Erwin Swann Collection of Caricature and Cartooning
  http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/coll/230_swan.html
Small Press Expo Collection
  https://www.loc.gov/item/2011660357/
• Small Press Expo Comic and Comic Art Web Archive
  https://www.loc.gov/collections/small-press-expo-comic-and-comic-art-web-archive

Lock Haven University (Lock Haven, PA)
• University Archive holds hundreds of comic books from the 1960s and 70s, as reported by Randall Scott's Comics Research Libraries list. (library website).

Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI)
Special Collections hold the Comic Art Collection; at 200,000+ American and foreign comic books, newspaper strips, and books and periodicals about comics, it is the largest collection of published comic books in the United States. The collection's website also presents an easily accessed collection development policy and a multifaceted index.

New York Public Library (New York, NY)
• Research Collections hold the library's Comic Book Collection, which includes color microfiche reproductions of dozens of comic book series from 1939-1956. as well as many comics encyclopedias and other reference materials, histories, and criticism. The site also contains guides to performing research on comics in periodicals and databases.

Oberlin College (Oberlin, OH)
• http://www2.oberlin.edu/library/special/american.html

Ohio State University (Columbus, OH)
• Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum
  https://cartoons.osu.edu/

Online Archive of California
Brenda Starr Comic Collection
  http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/c8jh3jw2/

State Library of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)
The Pennsylvania Comics Collection
  http://www.statelibrary.pa.gov/GeneralPublic/Learn/Pages/Comics.aspx

Syracuse University (Syracuse, NY)
• Special Collections Research Center
  https://library.syr.edu/scrc/collections/areas/cartoons.php

University at Buffalo (Buffalo, NY)
• Graphic Novel Collection
  http://library.buffalo.edu/libraries-collections/

University of California - Riverside (Riverside, CA)
• The Eaton Collection of Science Fiction & Fantasy
  http://eaton.ucr.edu/

University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)
• Susan Covery Comic Book Collection
  http://www.uflib.ufl.edu/spec/belknap/comics/comics.htm

University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN)
• Children's Literature Research Collections hold the John P. Borger Comic Book Collection and the George Hess Collection.
  https://www.lib.umn.edu/clrc/collections

University of Missouri - Columbia (Columbia, MO)
• Special Collections and Rare Books
  http://library.missouri.edu/specialcollections/bookcol/collections-a-z/

University of Nebraska - Lincoln (Lincoln, NE)
• Government Comics Collection
  https://mediacommons.unl.edu/luna/servlet/UNL~113~113
• Educational Comics Collection
  https://mediacommons.unl.edu/luna/servlet/UNL~6~6

Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA)
• Comic Arts Collections
  https://www.library.vcu.edu/research/special-collections/cabell/comics/

Washington State University (Pullman, WA)
• Rare Books and Special Collections
  https://libraries.wsu.edu/masc/rare-books

Comments