Discovery and Access

Discovering the Collection

All Death Masks can be found using the Library Catalog.

In the search bar, search the phrase “death mask” or the call number “C0770”. Hit enter to see all results. From that results page, use the “Library” filter on the left-hand side to choose “Special Collections”. Voila! You should now have a complete list of masks available.

Alternatively, if you have a particular person in mind, you can search for their name (like “Walt Witman”) and the phrase “death mask.” Click enter to generate a results page and then from that page use the “Library” filter on the right-hand side of the page to choose “Special Collections”. Presto!

Click on the blue item title to see the full item record and request the item to be viewed in the reading room.

Accessing the Collection

As is true with all collections, all researchers, regardless of academic affiliation are welcome to view Special Collections material in the Special Collections Reading Room located on the C-Floor of Firestone Library during open hours.

We recommend researchers create a Special Collections Research Account to submit online requests for material in advance of their visit.

Material can be requested through the Princeton University Finding Aids and/or Catalog (see the “discovering” section above for instructions on how to find material in the catalog) using the blue “reading room request” button in the catalog.

We encourage you to submit your requests at least 2 business days in advance to ensure that any offsite items will be here when you need them. We will page up to 6 items at a time once you have arrived and been signed into the reading room. If you are having any issues with registering or requesting materials, we can assist you via email or when you arrive.


Upon your first visit to the library, you will need to check in with the access office on the first floor of Firestone Library in order to obtain an Access Card. Researchers will be asked to present a photo ID like a driver’s license, passport, school ID or work ID. It is not necessary to use a government-issued ID. Once your Access Card has been issued, please take the stairs / elevator down to C-floor, where you will find the Special Collections department.

As a reminder, all food, drink, and personal belongings (such as bags, coats, laptop sleeves, pens, books, notebooks) must be stowed in the lockers available just outside the department. You are welcome to bring your laptop or tablet, but we will provide you with paper and pencils for handwritten notes.

You are also welcome to bring a camera, cell phone or other device to take pictures of the collection, but please leave any camera cases in your locker with other personal items. Please also be aware that due to preservation concerns, we do not allow the use of personal scanners, tripods, flash, or copy stands. To respect fellow researchers, we kindly ask you to remember to turn off any audible notifications on your devices when in the Reading Room. For more information please visit the Reading Room Guidelines page on our website.

Submitting a digitization request

Researchers who may not be able to visit in person can also request material be digitized and emailed to them as high-quality reproductions at no cost to the researcher. However, in order to provide effective and equitable service to all researchers, requests are limited to 300 pages per person/project. Published materials may be further limited due to copyright restrictions. Should you believe you are in need of services that do not align with our order fulfillment period or page limits, please reach out to public services staff to discuss your needs further.