Book Collectors collection  1769-1950
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The late 19th and early 20th centuries are considered a "golden age" of rare book collecting in the United States, encouraged by dealers and by the increased importation of rare books from Europe. During the period, several significant book collections were sold at auction, including those of Robert Hoe, Harrisse, and Brayton Ives. Wealthy men such as J. P. Morgan, Henry C. Folger, and William L. Clements amassed large collections of rare books and other materials, kept private libraries, and frequently bequeathed their collections to universities or similar institutions upon their deaths.

William L. Clements's personal library of early Americana is the foundation of the modern William L. Clements Library, which continues to specialize in books, manuscripts, graphic materials, maps, and other materials related to American history.