The separate collection of rare books was formed in the year 2000 with selected items from the General Stackroom. Previously, it was part of the Early Printed Books Section.
The chronological range:
Books published after 1801, particularly prints from 1830–1831, 1846–1848, 1861–1864, 1914–1920, 1939–1948.
The rare book collection includes:
- Bibliophile prints and unique copies of works by Polish authors (often not mentioned in the Estreicher's Bibiography)
- Items whose particular value depends on their binding or the technique in which they were published (printed on fabrics, parchment, stone etc.)
- Ephemera, i.e. documents of everyday life published before 1945
- 19th and 20th century emigration prints and highly valuable Polish-language books published abroad, including Polish emigration press
- Periodicals and books published during the First and Second World Wars, many of which are unique copies that exist only in the Jagiellonian Library
- Liberatura collection – a gift from Katarzyna Bazarnik and Zenon Fajfer which, apart from liberature, also includes literature on this issue and leaflets from festivals and exhibitions
The most interesting objects include:
- A.Mickiewicz, Pan Tadeusz, first edition, Paris 1834, Sonety, Moscow 1824.
- J.Słowacki, Poezje Vol. 1–3, Paris 1833.
- S.Wyspiański, Wesele, Cracow 1910 (with coloured illustrations by Kazimierz Sichulski).
- Ephemera from the period of the November and January Uprisings as well as those connected to the Polish Legions in the First World War
- Periodicals of literary and artistic nature from 1900-1939: Chimera, Żagary, Po Prostu, Czarno na białym.
- Ephemeral journals of limited circulation, published before 1948.