Special Collections holds a wide variety of first and early editions of important works, as well as archival literary collections, all spanning the past five centuries.
- Strong holdings in eighteenth-century British literature
- Many editions of Shakespeare, along with critical works
- Works by modern authors such as Walt Whitman, Joseph Conrad, Edith Wharton, and Sinclair Lewis
- The Donald A. Yates Jorge Luis Borges Collection, consisting of manuscripts, printed works, and archival items
- American small press poetry of the 1960s and 1970s
- The Michigan Writers Collection: archival collections and published work by prominent writers with ties to the state of Michigan, including