Built initially upon the private collection of George Elliston herself, the existing Elliston Collection has grown to include some thirty-thousand volumes of poetry and poetry-related material. A visitor is as likely to find the newest volumes from emerging writers and independent presses as they are to encounter first-editions and out-of-print rarities by the historic presses of the last century.
Historically, the Elliston Collection and Room has fostered close relationships with a number of landmark poetry movements: from the New Formalists to the San Francisco Renaissance, the Black Arts Movement to the Black Mountain School. The room's curators have also been devoted stewards of fine typographical and print work by masters like Robert LaVigne, Andrew Hoyem, Floriano Vecchi, Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, and others.
Like many poetry collections of its kind– and due to the unique nature of its contents– the Elliston remains a non-circulating collection. Readers are, however, encouraged to visit the room to consult all but the most delicate materials.