Librarian Janice Braun, a white woman with shoulder-length brown hair wearing a black sweater-jacket and gray pants, thumbs through an old book in the Heller Rare Book Room, a portion of F. W. Olin Library with white walls and oak built-in bookshelves.

Precious items still part of the Mills archives 

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After the College auctioned off its copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio in fall 2019, many wondered what other treasures were held in the Mills archives. David Nordham with Northeastern Global News sat down with Director of the Library and Special Collections Janice Braun in the Heller Rare Book Room to learn more about what those items might be. A few of them: 

• Several remarkable Bibles, including a leaf from a Gutenberg Bible, printed in 1454; an annotated second edition of the King James Bible, also known as the “she” Bible, from 1611; and a Martin Luther translation of the Bible from 1539. 

• A 1481 version of Dante’s La divina commedia from Florence that includes notes from the philosopher and artist Cristoforo Landino and hand-drawn engravings. 

• Thirty-six titles from the Arts and Crafts-influenced Kelmscott Press, which operated in London between 1891 and 1898, including a full collection of Geoffrey Chaucer’s works. 

The herbal, or, Generall historie of plantes from 1633 by John Gerard, one of the first chronicles of botany in the English language. 

• The archives of Beate Sirota Gordon ’43, who helped write the new Japanese constitution post-World War II; former music professors Pauline Oliveros and Darius Milhaud; and world-famous musician Patti Smith. 

Previous Quarterly stories have delved into several of those collections housed at Mills, as well as that of Senate candidate Barbara Tutt Lee ’73 and opera singer Emma Nevada, who graduated from Mills Seminary in 1876. Click here to read those articles. 

The Mills archives are available for alums and members of the community alike to peruse. Visit to learn more about how to access them and the other collections that are housed in F. W. Olin Library.