The Heller Room at Mills College

The Elinor Raas Heller Rare Book Room is located in the F.W. Olin Library of Mills College. The Heller room contains 12,000 volumes and 10,000 manuscripts, including printed books from the 15th century to the present. Rare items include a leaf from the original Gutenberg Bible, an original Shakespeare Folio. A particularly unique archive housed in the Heller Room is the Patti Smith collection, including books by and about musician Patti Smith, as well as recordings, journals, clippings, photographs, and ephemera, such as concert t-shirts and posters. This collection was founded and continues to be curated by Robert Byler, who has been working at the F.W. Olin library since 1995, and can be found at the Reference Desk evenings and weekends. Fine Press collection contains works from local presses and printers, including Eucalyptus Press books and ephemera, a press founded at Mills College in 1932. The Heller Room also houses the Center of the Book, offering programs which encompass book arts, literacy, and local history. While Mills College is currently considering cutting the historic book arts program, the Heller Room is a perfect example of the relevance of books and book arts as integral to the community of Mills College and the greater Bay Area.

The Mills College Library is not open to members of the public, but researchers can request access to the Heller Room resources.


Examples of book forms from the Heller Room archives

Examples of book forms from the Heller Room archives

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Emma Wilson, “The Heller Room at Mills College,” Street Stories: Oakland, accessed October 16, 2018,

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