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OU Special Collections

The fifth floor of OU’s Bizzell Memorial Library houses a world-class History of Science collection along with the Nichols Collection, the Bizzell Bible Collection, and the Bass Business Collection.

The fifth-floor library facilities include exhibition space, a comfortable lounge, a well-appointed reading room, an activities room for hands-on learning, a technology-enhanced classroom, and access (for those with research privileges) to the stacks.

Digitizitions of many of the rare manuscripts and books can be accessed from this site.

bookcase in History of Science Collections

History of Science Collections

The University of Oklahoma’s History of Science Collections include late medieval manuscripts and remarkable holdings of early printed books. Probably the most famous and treasured volume, among the nearly 100,000 works from every field and subject area of science, technology and medicine, is a copy of Galileo’s Sidereus Nuncius signed by the author.  

John and Mary Nichols Rare Books and Special Collections

The Nichols Collections are comprised of rare books and special materials in English, European, and American literatures dating from the 15th century to the present. The collection includes several incunables. These resources offer opportunities for interdisciplinary research in such fields as literary studies, the history of printing, and religion.

Outstanding items from the Nichols Collection include a Second Folio of Shakespeare; a first edition of Holinshed's Chronicles, the source for many Shakespeare plays; and a large collection of Charles Dickens's work.

Bizzell Bible Collection

Founded by a former president of the University, the Bizzell Bible Collection features two manuscript books of hours from the 15th century, incunabula, a copy of the Geneva Bible, and hundreds of other bibles in many languages. These resources are supplemented by commentaries, textual studies, illustrations, geographies and histories of the holy land, works on the life of Christ, prayer books and hymnals. The collection is housed in the beautiful Gaylord Room.

An M.A. thesis from 1963, by Jeane Mathewson Whitcomb Williams, provides an overview and checklist of the Bizzell Bible Collection. To view a searchable pdf of the thesis, click here.

Bass Business Collection

While most of the materials in the Bass Business Collection concern more recent economic and institutional history, the collection also includes a number of books from the late medieval and early modern periods. The oldest work is Johannes Nider's De contractibus mercatorum, published in 1468 in Cologne by Ulrich Zell, an apprentice of Johannes Gutenberg.