Rights and Reproductions

Evergreen Museum & Library provides images for educational presentations, professional research, print and electronic publications, and media projects. All requests for images must be made in writing to the Director-Curator. All requests are processed in a timely manner, according to the order in which they are received.

Evergreen Museum & Library
4545 N. Charles Street
The Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD 21210
tel: 410.516.0341

4545 N. Charles St.
Baltimore, MD 21210
← Back to the tour
The John Work Garrett Library

The Garrett Library is a truly remarkable collection of rare books and manuscripts gathered together over two generations by T. Harrison Garrett and his son John Work Garrett, before the latter bequeathed the collection in his name in 1942 to Johns Hopkins University. Today, it is part of the Department of Special Collections at the university’s Sheridan Libraries of the university's Sheridan Libraries, and is physically comprised of four distinct locations within Evergreen, some 30,000 volumes in all, the large majority of which are represented on-line in the Sheridan Libraries On-line Catalog.

Notable collection strengths are incunabula (books printed prior to 1501), 16th- and 17th-century English Renaissance literature and history, natural history and ornithology, the internationally recognized Laurence Hall Fowler collection of architectural history, early Americana and Marylandiana, travels and voyages, historic maps and atlases, 18th-19th century plate books, Civil war pamphlets and broadsides, 19th-century juvenile literature, and 19th c. American literary firsts. Other small, but outstanding collections include a gathering of medieval illuminated manuscripts, historic costume and fête books, a nearly complete manuscript collection of the autographs of each signer of the Declaration of Independence, and Fowler’s own papers and architectural drawings.

Inquiries and Appointments

The Garrett Library is open by appointment only during regular operating hours (Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm). Materials generally are used on-site, and patrons are required to call or write in advance to insure that the needed material will be available for consultation. Please direct all inquiries to:

Earle Havens, Curator of Early Books and Manuscripts
Rare Books & Manuscripts Department, Sheridan Libraries
Phone: 410.516.7782


Main Library

The large majority of particularly fine and rare books and manuscripts at Evergreen are housed in the Main Library, designed by Laurence Hall Fowler (1876–1971). These were, for the most part, collected by T. Harrison Garrett (1849–1888) and his son John Work Garrett (1872–1942). T. Harrison appears to have been a quite ecumenical collector, whose tastes extended to rare books and coins, as well as prints and oriental rugs, while John’s seem to have been confined largely to rare books and manuscripts, as well as numismatics.

Early Manuscripts

There is a small, but choice, collection in the Main Library of just over a dozen volumes of medieval and Renaissance illuminated and text manuscripts. Highlights include a Quattrocento illuminated edition of Josephus' Bellum Iudaicum, formerly owned by a Pope; several expertly illuminated French and Flemish Books of Hours; and the so-called “Garrett Zafarnama,” a sumptuously illustrated 15th-century Persian manuscript biography of Tamerlane, illuminated by the renowned book artist, Bihzad.


This is one of the largest private collections of incunabula in the United States, 140 books in all, printed by movable type before 1501, containing many of the finest and most prized works printed during the “cradle period” of printing. Among the treasures in the Main Library are the celebrated “Subiaco Lactantius” (1465), only the third book ever printed in Italy; William Caxton’s seminal Chronicles of England (1480), one of the first books ever printed in England; and a majestically illustrated Latin edition of the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493), containing some 1,800 woodcuts and a composite history of the world from creation to the Apocalypse.

Ornithology and Natural History

A major collection of books on birds, butterflies, quadrupeds, and other natural historical subjects. Among these riches are a complete, pristine edition of Audubon’s double elephant folio of the Birds of America (1827–38), as well as his Quadrupeds of North America; a vast run of chromolithographically illustrated portfolio volumes representing the many ornithological surveys of exotic corners of the world of John Gould; and the complete three-volume first edition masterwork Les Roses (1817–1824) by celebrated flower painter Pierre Joseph Redouté.

New World Discovery, Travels and Voyages

Important early imprints relating to the discovery of the New World, and to the popular literature of travels and voyages more generally. The New World collection includes one of the first printed versions (Basel, 1494) of Christopher Columbus’ famous letter reporting on his discovery of the West Indies; arguably one of the most extensive and important collections of Peter Martyr, the official chronicler of the Spanish Council of the Indies, including a signed and heavily annotated edition of his famous Decades (1533); and a number of important 16th- and 17th-century English New World accounts representing the earliest period of British colonization along the eastern coast of North America. The collection also extends more broadly to travel and voyage accounts of Africa, the Levant, Asia, and Oceania, including important editions of Captain Cook’s various journeys in the Pacific.

English Literature and History

16th- and 17th-century literary and historiographical works by many of the leading lights of the English Renaissance, later augmented by the collection of the Tudor & Stuart Club of The Johns Hopkins University. Highlights include Shakespeare’s works, including copies of each of the four collected folios of the plays (1622, 1632, 1664, 1685); and a very substantial collection of early editions of the leading Renaissance poets and playwrights Sir Philip Sidney, Edmund Spencer, Ben Jonson, and John Milton. Classic historical and scientific works appear as well, including Francis Bacon’s momentous contribution to the new empiricism, his Instauratio Magna (1620). The collection also includes early editions of the works of Jonathan Swift, Laurence Sterne, Samuel Johnson, while the 19th-century novel is well represented in the works of Thackeray, Dickens, Trollope, and others. Fond of late 18th- and 19th-century book illustration, the collection is well endowed with literary works illustrated by Hogarth, Rowlandson, Cruickshank, and others, a number of them hand-colored.

Architectural History: The Fowler Collection

Encompassing the late 15th to the 19th centuries, the Laurence Hall Fowler Collection very much reflects Fowler’s own particular taste for fine, classical architectural theory, beginning with the Renaissance and Baroque Italian School, and stretching to France and the British Isles during the 18th and 19th centuries, generally terminating with the Gothic Revival and the Beaux-Arts architectural traditions. Many of the finest and most sumptuously illustrated works of European architecture are represented in fine, complete copies, including more than 40 separate editions of Vetruvius beginning with the 1495 incunabulum; and one of the largest gatherings of the Italian School in the world, with major works in multiple editions and translations by Alberti, Serlio, Scamozzi, Vignola, Palladio, and others. The French masters Androuet du Cerceau, Bosse, and De Lorme are represented in smaller numbers, as are the works of the great English classicists Inigo Jones and Robert Adams, and the father of the English Gothic Revival, Augusts Welby Pugin.

Further Reading: Laurence Hall Fowler and Elizabeth Baer, eds., The Fowler Architectural Collection of The Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore: The Evergreen House Foundation, 1961; reprt. San Francisco: Alan Wofsy Fine Arts, 1991).
Laurence Hall Fowler Study Room

Early Marylandiana and Americana

This gathering of nearly 100 books, pamphlets, and broadsides constitutes one of the largest and most distinguished collections of its kind anywhere in the world. Formed by John Work Garrett largely during his retirement years (1933–1942), the collection builds upon a small handful of 17th-century imprints—presumably collected by T. Harrison Garrett—which relate to colonial Maryland, and reflects John’s deep commitment to his home state and the region of his birth. Other early Americana include original 17th-century manuscripts of the Maryland Plantation, extremely rare American Revolutionary War broadsides, and what is believed to be the unique copy of the first book printed in Baltimore, John Redick-Le-Man’s A Detection of the Conduct and Proceedings of Messrs. Annan and Henderson (1765). The American Civil War also is admirably represented, most notably in a collection of some 500 political and military broadsides representing perspectives from both sides of the conflict.

Further Reading: Elizabeth Baer, ed., Seventeenth-Century Maryland: A Bibliography (Baltimore: The John Work Garrett Library, 1949).


John Work Garrett was, from his adolescence, a world traveler, a wanderlust that is admirably reflected in extremely fine, and often expertly hand-colored, atlases and sea charts. His connoisseurship in this area is well represented in the many extremely large, multi-volume portfolio editions, some still in their contemporary Renaissance bindings. Among the treasures are a monumental 1570 Antwerp colored edition of Abraham Ortelius’ Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, and the massive 11-volume Dutch atlas Johannes Bleau, the Geographia (Amsterdam, 1662-65).

Art and Museum Plate Books

John Work Garrett clearly took the opportunity during his diplomatic posts to explore some of the great private collections and public museums of Europe. That interest extended to his collection of many important and rare illustrated portfolio plate books representing major collection, and the collected works of individual artists, between the 18th and 19th centuries—a collection clearly started by his father. Highlights of the collection include multiple illustrated editions of the collections of the finest museums in Europe; major graphically illustrated collections of the works of Michelangelo, Raphael, Piranesi, and other leaders of the Italian School; large-scale reproductions of English artists George Vertue, Hogarth, Gillray, and others; and a massive edition of the complete engraved works of Giovanni Battista Piranesi in 16 folio volumes (ca. 1748–1792).

Costume Books

Perhaps nowhere does Alice Warder Garrett’s influence suggest itself than in the small, but select, collection of costume books. Particular high points of this impressive gathering include Cesare Vecellio’s early De gli Habiti Antichi, et Moderni (Venice, 1590); a hand-colored edition of Jacques Grasset de Saint-Sauveur’s encyclopedic four-volume Costumes Civils Actuels de Tous les Peuples Connus (Paris, 1784); and the particularly exotic Costume of China (London, 1800) of George Henry Mason, and The Costume of Indostan (London, [1804?]) of Balthazar Solvyns.

Bibles: The Hofmann Collection

Some of the most important early bibles ever produced are present within this collection, the core of which was assembled privately by Julius Hofmann, pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Baltimore, and subsequently acquired for The Johns Hopkins University at Hoffman’s death in 1928 through the offices of his executor, Professor William Kurrelmeyer. Highlights of the Hofmann Collection include the massive, four-volume 1497 bible printed by Anton Koberger in Nuremberg; copies of the so-called “Polyglot Psalter;” and important provincial impressions such as the handsome Biblia Dudesch (Halberstadt, 1522). These are complemented by John Work Garrett’s copy of the celebrated translation by John Eliot of the Bible into Algonquin (Cambridge, Mass., 1662-1663), and further benefactions by the Kurrelmeyer family, including the “September Bible” and “December Bible” (1522), Martin Luther’s translation of the New Testament into the German vernacular.

The New Library

Completed in 1942, the “New Library” at Evergreen was the last major addition made to the Garrett family residence. Designed by Laurence Hall Fowler (1876–1971) based on the great Percier and Fontaine libraries created by Napoleon in the early 19th century, this library space is generally not included on the museum tour as it serves as the on-site office of the rare books curator, and as a reading room and classroom for Garrett Library visitors. Though the large majority of books in the New Library are not particularly rare, there are some true jewels housed here, including fine 19th-century editions of canonical authors such as Dante, Cervantes, Shakespeare, Schiller, Flaubert, Whitman, and others. Numerous books also bear inscriptions of gift and personal presentation to John Work Garrett and his wife, Alice Warder Garrett, shedding considerable light on their circle of like-minded, bibliophilic friends.