The Rare Book Collection in Lupton Library holds over 7500 books, ranging in dates from the early 1500s to modern times. Included in this collection are several named collections, including:
- General John T. Wilder Memorial Collection (Civil War and Union regimental histories)
- The Prevost Collection of Civil War Fiction for Young Readers
- The Nat and Bucky Hughes Collection (Civil War and United States history)
- The Charles Hubbard Collection(rare and valuable books from the 1500s to modern times)
- The Barry Moser Collection (books illustrated by UTC alumnus and renowned illustrator Barry Moser)
- The Charles R. & Anne Bachman Hyde Collection (Civil War and Southern culture and literature).
Significant titles in the Rare Book Collection include:
- The landmark first edition of The Dictionary of the English Language, by Dr. Samuel Johnson (London, 1755)
- Two plays by William Shakespeare, extracted from the 1623 2nd Folio: The Twelfth Night and Tymon of Athens
- First editions of Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, William Faulkner, and Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind.
- The oldest book in the collection is from 1514: In Carum Lucretium Poetam Commentarii a Ioanne Baptista Pio Editi by Lucretius.
- The oldest printed items date from 1479: Two leaves from the Biblia Latina, printed by Adolph Rusch in Strassburg, Germany.
Local and Tennessee-themed books are also part of the collection. Books by local authors such as Robert Sparks Walker (1878-1960) and Emma Bell Miles (1879-1919) are housed in the Rare Book Collection. Also included are books written by UTC faculty and alumni.
Due to the rarity, condition, and value of these books, they do not circulate but can be used in the Special Collections Reading Room.
The Special Collections also oversees a collection of books authored by the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Founded in 1987 in Chattanooga by a group of nationally-known Southern writers, the Fellowship of Southern Writers is a nonprofit organization which has for its objective the encouragement of literature in the South. They meet every other year in Chattanooga for the Celebration of Southern Literature. The books in the Fellowship of Southern Writers Collection are housed in the Southern Writers’ Room of the library and include many signed first editions. These books are available upon request and must be used in the library.