Rare Books Collection

An open book with an image of a man in a robe.

Dudley’s rare books collection extends 60 linear feet and is housed offsite at a library facility dedicated to special collections and archives where these rare books are used to enhance and expand upon the facility’s curriculum.

These rare books comprise an extraordinary collection of early astronomical works and represent some of the seminal works in astronomy and include early editions of Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Gauss and many others. This collection was begun by Benjamin A. Gould, Jr., Dudley’s first Director and a collector of rare books. Several of Gould’s letters found in the Dudley Archives mention his attending book auctions or his purchasing rare books. The 15th, 16th and 17th astronomical works in this collection represent seminal works in their fields. An exhibit featuring some examples of these books was held at the Schenectady Museum in April, 2000.