Highlights of the Rose

Interior of the Rose Library, including the elevators and service desk.

One of the nation’s most sought-after destinations for research and teaching, the Rose Library is poised to become an even stronger interdisciplinary center that brings important and provocative collections to life for a broad, diverse audience.

As a division of the Emory Libraries, the Rose Library serves the Emory University campus, members of the Atlanta community, and visiting researchers from all over the world. The Rose Library provides services for processing and cataloging collection materials, and for research, teaching, and learning with Rose collections. It also offers exhibits and public programming to engage with campus, local, and research communities.

Staff and Facilities

Wall display of author quotes in Rose Library.

The Rose Library is supported by a staff of 22, comprised of teams responsible for administration, collection development, collection services, public services, and university archives, which is also home to the Libraries’ oral history program. Rose staff work closely with other libraries, divisions, and campus partners. The Associate University Librarian for Special Collections and Director of the Rose Library is a member of the Libraries leadership team and works collaboratively across the Libraries to integrate special collections into the broader strategic directions of the Libraries and the University.

The Rose Library occupies the top floors of the Robert W. Woodruff Library in the heart of the Emory campus. In 2015, it was renamed for donor, Emory alumnus, and book collector Stuart A. Rose and underwent a major renovation to expand

and transform its physical space. Its modern facilities mirror the quality of the collections it houses, reflecting the library’s world-renowned stature and its importance to the university’s mission.

Collection Highlights

Antique book spines.


Holding about 370,000 volumes of rare books and serials dating from the 13th century to the present, the Rose Library’s rare books collection covers a wide range of subjects—from religious texts to anatomical engravings to avant-garde poetry.

Some of the library’s featured collecting areas include African American print culture, early-modern British literature, Belgian imprints, Southern imprints, and Victorian popular literature. In addition, the Rose Library is home to the personal libraries of notable writers, scholars, collectors, and presses, along with classic first editions of beloved works of literature.

These books complement the library’s manuscript collections with notable editions, inscribed and signed copies, and adaptations from authors and artists whose papers are held here.


Handwritten pages.

The Rose Library’s literary collections include significant holdings in contemporary poetry, Irish literature and African American literature and poetry. The collection includes the papers of Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, and respected writers and educators. Highlights include the papers of poet Seamus Heaney, Alice Walker, Flannery O’Connor, and Salman Rushdie, though the depth and breadth of the collections speaks to and supports research in nearly all areas of contemporary literature.


Consisting of an astonishing 75,000-volume collection of rare and first editions of modern and contemporary poetry, the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library was assembled by collector Raymond Danowski over 25 years. The collection is thought to have been the largest poetry library in private hands until its arrival at Emory in 2004. The numerous rare books, chapbooks, little magazines, journals, broadsides, audio recordings, manuscripts, ephemera, and visual art in the collection come from the United States, Britain, Ireland, Australia, India, Canada, Scotland, and South Africa. Remarkable for its range and depth, the library represents Raymond Danowski’s desire to gather every book of poetry published in English.


African American collections in the Rose Library document political and social movements, literature and the arts, and sports. The collection is one of the most significant collections of Black print culture in the United States spanning from a 1773 signed first edition of Phillis Wheatley’s book of poems to post-Black Arts Movement contemporary ephemera. Significant holdings include the Southern Christian Leadership Conference records and the Robert Langmuir African American Photograph Collection. This collection also maintains the personal libraries of artists/scholars/filmmakers Camille Billops and James V. Hatch. 


The Rose Library’s document American history, culture, and politics with a focus on Atlanta, Georgia, and the South. That story emerges from distinctive primary source materials, including firsthand accounts of the 1864 fall of Atlanta; the fight to pass the Equal Rights Amendment in Georgia; the civil rights movement; the struggle to desegregate schools; the influence of politicians, business leaders, philanthropists, and journalists; and the history, culture, politics, and public health initiatives of the LGBT community. Collections range from the papers of long-serving United States Senator Sam Nunn to the records of the Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center and include a number of collections documenting AIDS activism in the Atlanta region. 


The Emory University Archives contain records that document the origins, history, development, activities, and achievements of Emory University, and affiliated organizations. The archives support university advancement by providing a permanent repository for records of administrative value. 

University archives is the home to the Oral History Program which conducts oral histories documenting the Emory student experience, community stories, and supports faculty and student led oral history projects.

Services and Programs

Patrons looking at rare books in the Rose Library.

The Rose Library supports researchers in its reading room, provides reference assistance for remote users, partners with faculty to plan class assignments using Rose collections in teaching, and reaches out to local school and community groups to introduce them to special collections.


Each year the Rose Library welcomes more than 1,500 researchers to explore its collections for scholarly and personal pursuits. Approximately 50% of users come from outside of the Emory community. The Library has a long-standing Fellowship program to support travel to use the collections. The library also offers remote reference and reproduction services.


Rose Library has a robust instruction program that supports courses from across Emory University departments including Oxford College, engaging over 1,500 students with its collections in a classroom setting. The Rose Library has established the Faculty Teaching Fellowship Program to train instructors on making meaningful use of Rose Library material in the classroom and runs the Archives Research Program, an ongoing initiative for graduate students. 

Technical Services

The Rose Library’s Collection Services team provides arrangement, description, and cataloging services for the Rose Library’s manuscript, archive, and print collections. The Library maintains a state-of-the-art digital archives lab that supports the processing and preservation of born-digital material. 

Curatorial Services

Rose Library curators support researchers, faculty, and students through building robust and meaningful collections, participating in instructional activities, engaging with communities throughout Atlanta, and conducting research consultations with users. 

Exhibitions, Programming, and Partnerships

Dream Machine exhibit in the Woodruff Library's Schatten Gallery.

Outreach activities connect visitors who are not conducting research or attending a class in Rose, but may be engaged through an exhibition, special program, or other activities. The Rose Library offers K-12 programs, tours, exhibits and public programming to share and connect with the campus, local, and research communities.  

A thriving exhibitions program helps promote the Rose Library’s holdings within its own spaces and in the Schatten Gallery, the Library’s main exhibition space. Previous exhibitions have highlighted the Library’s photography collections, literary holdings, and LGBTQ collections and attract hundreds of visitors. 

Rose Library materials are regularly used in campus exhibitions, loaned to other institutions nationwide, and featured in traveling exhibitions. 

The Rose Library hosts a full roster of speakers, author readings and other public programs. These include the Danowski Poetry Reading Series which brings major poets to Emory’s campus and regular programming highlighting Rose collections.

Partnerships across the Emory campus and broader community have enabled the Rose Library to further extend its reach and connect with even broader audiences.