The Bentley Rare Book Gallery collection is the result of the dedication and passion for books of two men: Mr. Robert B. Williams, Senior Curator of Rare Books, and Mr. Fred D. Bentley, Sr., a Cobb County lawyer and avid book collector. In the late 1980s Mr. Bentley donated a large number of nineteenth and early twentieth century first editions as the foundation of the Gallery collection. Since that initial donation, the collection has grown and developed, evolving into an assemblage of manuscripts and books representing the history of the book with a focus on the English-speaking world.
Today, the Gallery holds over 8,000 items, ranging from Sumerian clay tablets and medieval manuscript leaves to modern fine press books and literary first editions. The collection supports teaching at the university through incorporation into course instruction sessions and class assignments, as well as lectures, workshops, and exhibitions. In addition, we welcome individual researchers from Kennesaw State University and the broader community.