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Rare Books and Manuscripts

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A new LibGuide for the Civic Classics Collection (CCC) is under construction. This will contain recent acquisitions, other resources at ASU related to the CCC, and additional information to enhance the historical content and context of this collection. If you have suggestions for topics or resources you would like included, please email the curator.

The Civic Classics Collection

The books in the Civic Classics Collection were acquired through state funds allocated to the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership (SCETL), and selected in collaboration between the school and the ASU Library. They are a part of the Civic Classics Collection in the Rare Books and Manuscripts, Distinctive Collections at ASU Library.

Most are first editions, and some are inscribed by the author. The classic texts in this collection offer a valuable look into the key civic ideas and debates in American history. 

Included are contemporaneous printings of George Washington's Farewell Address (1796), Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in his own hand (1864), and "Selections from the Woman's Rights Convention and the Declaration of Sentiments Adopted at the Seneca Falls Convention" printed in the North Star, edited by Fredrick Douglass and M.R. Delany (1848). Books with inscriptions include Stride Toward Freedom (1958) and Strength to Love (1963), both with notes by Martin Luther King Jr., and The History of Woman Suffrage with a handwritten note by Susan B. Anthony. 

Civic Classics Books (by Category)

Civic Thought

Discourse in Commemoration of the Lives and Services of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, Delivered in Faneuil Hall, Boston, August 2, 1826, by Daniel Webster. Boston: Cummings, Hilliard and Company, 1826.

The Federalist: A Collection of Essays, written in Favour of the New Constitution, as Agreed Upon by the Federal Convention, September 17, 1787. First Edition. In Two Volumes. New York: J. and A. M’Lean, 1788. With Michael Zinman bookplate. SPEC E-8571.

Notes on the State of Virginia, written by Thomas Jefferson. London: John Stockdale, 1787.

Sketches of the History of America, by James Thomson Callender. Entered According to Law. Philadelphia: Snowden & McCorkle, 1798.


An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nationsby Adam Smith. First Edition. Two Volumes. London: Printed for W. Strahan; and T. Cadell, 1776. With signature of "H. D. Boswell".

Principles of Political Economy with Some of Their Applications to Social Philosophy, by John Stuart Mill. First Edition. Two Volumes. London: John W. Parker, 1848.

First Peoples

Chief Joseph's Own Story, by Joseph (Nez Percé Chief). [St. Paul, 1925.]

Old Indian Legends, retold by Zitkala-Sa. First Edition. Boston: Ginn & Company, 1901.


Alexander Hamilton

A Collection of the Facts and Documents Relative to the Death of Major General Alexander Hamilton with Comments: Together with the Various Orations, Sermons, and Eulogies, That Have Been Published or Written on His Life and Character. New York: Hopkins and Seymour, 1804.

The Reynolds Pamphlet, or Observations of Certain Documents Contained in No. V & VI of 'The History of the the United States for the Year 1796," in Which the Charge of Speculation against Alexander Hamilton, Late Secretary of the Treasury Is Fully Refuted, Written by Himself. Philadelphia, Printed for John Fenno, by John Bioren, 1797.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Strength to Love, by Martin Luther King, Jr. First Edition. New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1963. With an inscription from "Martin" "To my friend Rachel Ward", undated, on front flyleaf.

Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Storyby Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1958. With an inscription from "Martin Luther King Jr." to Ronald Roberts, undated, on front flyleaf. 

Abraham Lincoln

"Address delivered at the Dedication of the Cemetery at Gettysburg by Abraham Lincoln," November 19, 1863, in Lincoln's handwriting. In Autograph Leaves of Our Country's Authors. First Edition. Baltimore: Cushings and Bailey, 1864.

"Political Debates Between Hon. Abraham Lincoln and Hpn. Stephen A. Douglass," in The Celebrated Campaign of 1858, in Illinois. First Edition. Columbus: Follett, Foster and Company, 1860.

"President Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865." In The Tribune Almanac and Political Register, 1866New York: The Tribune Association.

Race and America

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, written by Himself. First Edition. Boston: Anti-Slavery Office, 1845.

Sal Si Puedes: Cesar Chavez and the New American Revolution, by Peter Matthiessen. New York: Random House, 1969. Includes: a typed letter signed by Cesar E. Chavez, President, United Farm Workers of America AFL-CIO to Mr. Russell Gibbons, U.S.W.A., February 9, 1974.

The Slave-Wife, by F.H. Green, Also, Speech of Frederick Douglass (A Fugitive Slave from Maryland), in Belfast, Ireland, on the Presentation of a Beautiful Copy of the Holy Bible, by the Citizens of that Place. First Edition. Cortlandville: Stedman & Goodwin, 1846.

Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly, by Harriet Beecher Stowe. 2 Volume. Boston: John P. Jewett & Company, 1852. Includes: a handwritten sheet with a paragraph from page 197, Volume 2, starting with "No! no! no!" in Harriet Beecher Stowe's handwriting.

George Washington

"Address of the President Washington on his Resignation to the People of the United States." In The London Times, Wednesday, November 9, 1796, Number 3735. Includes the first 26 paragraphs of this speech.

"President's Declination to the People of the United States Delivered by George Washington, September 17, 1796." In Independent Chronicle: Universal Advertiser. Boston, Massachusetts. Volume 28, Number 1620, Monday, September 26, 1796.

Inaugural Address of His Excellency the President [Washington] of the United States, to Congress, April 30, 1789. In The American Museum for May, 1789.

Women's Rights

The History of Woman Suffrageedited by Susan B. Anthony & Ida Husted Harper. Volume IV, 1883-1900. Rochester, NY: Susan B. Anthony, 1902. With handwritten inscription from Susan B. Anthony to Miss Mariana T. Folsom, June 1, 1903.

"Selections from the Woman's Rights Convention and the Declaration of Sentiments Adopted at the Seneca Falls Convention." In The North Star, Editors: Fredrick Douglass and M.R. Delany. Volume 1, Number 33. Friday, August 11, 1848, Rochester, New York.


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The collection is housed at Hayden Library.

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