The Clarke Library's Rackham Collection is a research collection, rather than simply a rare-books collection. It is intended to be consulted by researchers as well as admired by art and book lovers. The collection supports research on Rackham's work in the areas of publishing history, book design, and illustration. It is a hands-on collection, where researchers and other interested individuals can work directly with the materials. It includes a variety of deluxe signed editions as well as British and American first trade editions. The collection represents more than half of the works Rackham is known to have published, and it contains almost all of the works for which he was the sole illustrator, along with a selection of works for which he was a contributor. More important, the collection includes either a deluxe or first trade edition of every one of his works that was published as a deluxe limited edition.
This exhibition highlights Rackham's significant contributions to children's literature, fairy tales, music, and British, American and European literature. It also includes a small selection of his original art. Although the show has been organized with these categories in mind, several of his books cross so many boundaries of classification and are of such significance that they are grouped simply under the heading "Rackham's Classics."