Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries
365 N. McIlroy Avenue, Fayetteville, AR 72701-4002
The Special Collections department of the University of Arkansas Libraries was created in 1967 to encourage research and writing in the history and culture of Arkansas and the surrounding region. The department’s mission is to acquire, preserve, and provide access to historical manuscripts, archives, maps, photographs, and published materials to support scholarly investigation of the state, its customs and people, and its cultural, physical, and political climate.
Special Collections holds more than fourteen hundred processed manuscript collections, amounting to more than ten thousand linear feet of materials. These collections represent many areas of human endeavor, including government and politics, business, family and community life, education, conservation, the arts, and religion.
The department also holds:
– The Arkansas Collection is about twenty-eight thousand cataloged titles in a comprehensive library of Arkansas print material. Fiction and other literature, history and government, geography, natural and social science, arts, religion, and technology–all the major classes of knowledge–are represented in the collection.
– Journals, magazines, and other periodicals on Arkansas subjects are maintained in paper or microfilm copies, and many are indexed. They include magazines of the present day as well as those that have long since ceased publication.
– The history of the University is well documented in Special Collections. The minutes of the Board of Trustees, descriptive brochures and bulletins of various administrative units, and some departmental files are housed here. In addition, Special Collections maintains holdings of dozens of University publications, ranging from the first yearbook, the Cardinal of 1897, and “underground” campus newspapers like the X-Ray, to programs for sports events, University theatrical and musical performances, and commencements.
– Rare books and special libraries are housed in the department because of their exceptional value, curiosity, or distinction. The collection ranges across the spectrum of knowledge and includes important early imprints of European literature and history, colonial American political tracts, examples of fine printing and illustration, and some interesting autographed books.
– The Special Collections Department houses more than one hundred thousand pictures, including photographic negatives and prints, tintypes, slides, drawings, and pictures printed in various media. A large group of photographs depicts the history of the University from the earliest days, including publicity stills from the athletic and other departments as well as many snapshots taken by students.
– Broadsides and maps are other non-book resources maintained in Special Collections. The Broadside Collection contains more than a thousand items, including many scarce handbills and flyers, announcements of political rallies or religious revivals, appeals to buy War Bonds, and even undergraduate jokes circulated at the University.