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The collections of the Phillips Library consist of manuscripts, books, pamphlets, maps, charts, photographs and documents created for personal, business, legal, artistic, didactic and scholarly use. The collections have come from around the world.

Within the museum, not all items created on paper are held in the library. For works of art on paper contact the American Decorative Arts Department. For photographs contact the Photography Department. For nautical navigation charts contact the Maritime Department.

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Subject Strengths

The collection range of the Phillips Library is diverse. While its roots are imbedded in the local, maritime history of Massachusetts, the global reach of the founders and the early collectors who built this library ensured that it would represent so much more than that.

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Collection Categories

Essex County History, Frederick Townsend Ward collection of Chinese materials, Maritime, Belles Lettres and Popular Literature, Religious Life and Doctrine, Travel Literature and Geography, Reform Literature, Architecture and Related Crafts, Trade Catalogues and Business Advertising

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History of the Phillips Library Collections

The Phillips Library of the Peabody Essex Museum is the current incarnation of several institutions that over many years adapted to their changing world through programmatic shifts, name changes, and mergers.

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Online Collections

The Phillips Library Online Collections provide full access to a growing number of digitized items created from the Phillips Library Collection.