Heiko A. Oberman Library

A Collection of Medieval and Reformation Sources

"Where my library is, there is my Fatherland."
—Erasmus (†1536)

Books in the Oberman Research Library are to be found at the University of Arizona's Main Library and Special Collections, and can be located in the UA Libraries Catalog online using Search Keywords: Heiko A. Oberman Library.

In October 2000, Heiko A. Oberman and his family announced their intention to give to the University of Arizona's Division for Late Medieval and Reformation Studies the extraordinary reference and research library that Oberman had assiduously collected during his lifetime. The transfer occurred in June 2010, upon the successful endowment of $2 million for the Heiko A. Oberman Chair in Late Medieval and Reformation History.

The Oberman library, characterized as the largest such collection remaining in private hands in North America and appraised in 1998 at $1.2 million, constitutes a world-class acquisition by the University Library. It comprises over ten thousand volumes centered on the late Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the Reformation, many of which would be virtually impossible to find in today's market.  The Oberman Library dramatically increases the sources available within the State of Arizona for the study of a formative era of the European past.

One of the most outstanding segments of this collection travels under the technical label of "Rariora," meaning, essentially, items of exceptional rarity. Among these are a number of printed books from the early sixteenth century as well as later examples. In the main these are works of medieval and Reformation scholars.

The Collection

  • Rariora Collection of Early Printings
  • Printed books dating from the early sixteenth century to the eighteenth century. In the main these are works of medieval and Reformation scholars.
  • Luther Texts  (over 100 volumes); Works about Luther and his thought  (580 volumes)
  • Calvin Texts  (over 60 volumes); Works about Calvin and his thought  (260 volumes)
  • Zwingli Texts; Includes the first collected Zwingli edition (Zurich, 1545).; Works about Zwingli and his thought  (124 volumes)
  • Council of Trent  (13 folio volumes); Texts about the Council of Trent and the Catholic Reformation  (135 volumes)
  • Collected Works (or Major Works) of the medieval Philosophers and Theologians; Works about medieval thinkers and their thought  (1,560 volumes)

Supporting Texts

  • Anti-Semitica (295 volumes); histories of the universities (60 volumes); popular religion, including apocalypticism, Peasants' War, daemonica, etc. (320 volumes); political and social history of Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland (840 volumes); urban histories (120 volumes); and ecclesiology (420 volumes)
  • Journal Collections  (20)
  • Scholarly Series  (10)
  • Encyclopedias and Reference Works
  • Offprint Collection

Second Vatican Council

  • This collection is probably the only complete holding outside official Catholic Church archives of the various drafts of each document, as well as the final printing of each document. The whole comprises a unique archive for research on the evolution of Roman Catholic thought from the Council of Trent through Vatican II.