The field of biblical studies has been an integral part of the University of Chicago since its founding in 1892. William Rainey Harper, the first president of the University, was a distinguished scholar of the Hebrew Bible. Thus, from its beginnings the Library's collections have included a focus on biblical scholarship. Throughout the years, the collection was strengthened to support the teaching and scholarship of many other noted biblical scholars who taught at the University. Today, the library's collection in biblical studies includes thousands of print books and journals, as well as numerous electronic resources.
In addition, a rich array of rare books, manuscripts, and archival sources for research and teaching in biblical studies is available in the Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center (SCRC). The SCRC houses the American Bible Union Collection and the Maurice T. Grant Collection of English Bibles. Most notable among the manuscript collections is the Edgar J. Goodspeed Manuscript Collection. Thanks to a generous grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, most of the manuscripts in this collection have been digitized. Archival collections such as the papers of William Rainey Harper, Ira M. Price, Ernest DeWitt Burton, and Edgar J. Goodspeed document the careers of these important biblical scholars. The SCRC also houses the records of some important organizations, including the American Institute of Sacred Literature and the Divinity School's New Testament Club.