John Wilson Special Collections


Central Library's John Wilson Special Collections houses the rare book and other special collections of Multnomah County Library in a controlled environment for the preservation of rare and historically significant materials. The original focus was a gift of the private collection of John Wilson, an avid book collector with broad interests. Wilson, born in Ireland, arrived in Oregon in 1849. In subsequent years, other gifts and materials culled from the library's collections have widened the scope and depth of the John Wilson Special Collections' holdings to more than 12,000 volumes.

Six core collections include those devoted to the book arts and the history of the book; children's literature; natural history; Pacific Northwest history; literature with particular strengths of Charles Dickens and D. H. Lawrence; and Native American literature.

Multnomah County Library is currently digitizing select materials in our John Wilson Special Collections so that they are more discoverable by our patrons. We are highlighting selected materials to showcase the depth and variety of these collections and to provide another pathway for Multnomah County residents to connect with their cultural heritage.

Physical rights to the items in this collection are retained by Multnomah County Library. While Multnomah County Library may own the physical items that are reproduced in this collection, the library is not the copyright holder for most of them. Information about copyright for particular items can be found in the “Rights & Usage” field of each item.

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. It is the responsibility of any users of this digital collection to determine whether their intended use of an item is acceptable under copyright law.

If you are a copyright holder for an item on this website that is not properly identified, please contact us. When contacting us about an item in this collection, please include the identifier for the item (e.g., JWpic_000018).