The Plimpton Collection was presented to Wellesley in 1904 by George Arthur Plimpton in memory of his wife, Frances Taylor Pearsons, class of 1884. Gathered for the most part by Mrs. Plimpton herself, the collection of 1,200 volumes represents the history of Italian literature from the 14th to the 17th century.

It is renowned for its fine Renaissance manuscripts, incunabula, and early editions of Boccaccio, Dante, and Petrarch, many still in their original bindings. Savonarolla's tracts and sermons are well represented, and holdings of early editions of Romances of Chivalry are particularly strong.

Margaret Hastings Jackson, an early curator of the collection, compiled The Catalogue of the Frances Taylor Pearsons Plimpton Collection of Italian Books and Manuscripts in the Library of Wellesley College, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1929.

More recently, the pre-1600 manuscripts in the Plimpton Collection have been cataloged with complete codicological descriptions by Dr. Lisa Fagin Davis. The catalog is available online, along with records for other non-Plimpton manuscripts.

Shown: Petrarch, Le cose volgari, 1501