Special Collection has been fortunate to amass major collections on four literary authors and a printing scholar. Exhaustive first edition files, both American and English first issues, of the three authors John Ruskin, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and John Masefield are collected. In addition, healthy representations of illustrated, finely printed, and unusual editions of the works of these authors are kept in the department.

The first editions of the Ruskin, Tennyson, and Masefield collections are nearly complete. Lafcadio Hearn is the other literary author collected. However, his material is not as comprehensive as the other three authors.

A near complete file of the books and pamphlets of Douglas C. McMurtrie, a renowned bibliographer and printing historian, is also preserved in Special Collection.