The Archives & Rare Books Library’s Historical Textbook Collection was created by Gary Lare, former head of the Curriculum Resources Center, now called the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH) Library. Now a special collection in the Archives & Rare Books Library, the collection continues to be developed as primary source materials for the history of education in the United States. Comprised of more than 2,000 books from the early 19th century to the turn of the 21st century, the textbooks cover virtually every subject taught in elementary, middle and secondary schools.

The goals of this exhibit are to provide a preliminary finding aid for the volumes, along with background information on textbook publishing in Cincinnati and the heritage of K-12 education in the United States, with the eventual aim of cataloging and naming the collection. A collection development policy is also being developed, with guidelines to expand scholarly research and teaching with primary materials. Subjects included in the collection are foreign languages, art, health, grammar & composition, handwriting, speech & theatre, mathematics, music, science, social studies, and engineering.