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LIBRARY TIP OF THE MONTH - MARCH

 
 

Explore the Library's Treasures

 
 

The University Library invites you to explore the treasures of its renowned special collections, which, in addition to supporting research, captivate a wider audience through ever-changing exhibits and special events. Our expert librarians, archivists, and curators welcome your visits (when it's safe to have you in person), inquiries, and endeavors, whether you’re delving into rich, primary resources or delighting in a display of the rare and unusual—from ancient texts to remarkable musical instruments to Homecoming badges from the early 20th century. Each library’s website posts hours, links to digitized materials, and contacts for staff members who look forward to drop-in visits (once the pandemic ends) as well as more formal arrangements to discuss your research and prepare materials. Check the Library’s Event Calendar and individual library websites in order not to miss a single fascinating adventure.

Some of the Library’s larger special collections include:

Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Quick facts:

  • One of the largest repositories for rare books and manuscripts in the United States
  • Renowned for renaissance imprints and pre-1800 English books
  • Strong in literature, history, art, theology, philosophy, technology, and natural sciences

Of particular note:

  • Early printing (nearly 1,200 incunabula)
  • English literature
  • Works by Shakespeare and Milton
  • Important editions of the Bible
  • History of science
  • Modern literary archival material, including collections associated with:
    • H. G. Wells
    • Carl Sandburg
    • W. S. Merwin
    • Gwendolyn Brooks
    • Marcel Proust
    • Anthony Trollope
    • John Ruskin
    • Lewis Carroll

University Archives

Quick facts:

  • Official records and heritage repository for the University of Illinois from 1867 to the present
  • Holds personal archives of faculty and alumni, as well as student organization records
  • Sustains the university’s identity and informs the public of work done in its name

Of particular note:

  • International Olympics movement
  • Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia in the Cold War
  • Political and foreign affairs journalism in the papers of Scotty Reston, Godfrey Sperling, and Hal Bruno
  • Arts and humanities funding and administration
  • Cybernetics
  • Illinois and international agriculture
  • Major national association archives on advertising, agricultural communications, legal education, and librarianship
  • Special program areas:
    • Student Life and Culture Archives
      • Publications, photographs, and correspondence reflecting student life and culture in the United States and Illinois
      • Ranked among the best in the U.S. for national holdings on fraternity and sorority life and history
    • Sousa Archives and Center for American Music
      • Documents local and national music history and diverse cultures
      • Features papers of John Philip Sousa, Herbert L. Clarke, Paul E. Bierley, UI alumni, and former UI band directors and Sousa Band members
      • Offers a unique collection of 20th-century electronic and avant-garde music, as well as vintage musical instruments
      • Holds select ethno-musicological research papers from UI faculty and staff at the School of Music and Robert E. Brown Center for World Music
    • American Library Association Archives
      • Official repository for analog and digital records of the ALA
      • Collects and preserves the history of the association and librarianship and library social and public services
      • Includes physical and digital records, photos, and audiovisual materials on ALA’s activism, services and technology, conferences, and the Library War Service

Illinois History and Lincoln Collections

Quick facts:

  • Collections document the history of Illinois and its inhabitants as well as the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln
  • Includes over 35,000 printed volumes dating from the late 1600s to the present and over 1,000 manuscript collections dating from the early 1700s to the 2010s

Of particular note:

  • Diaries, letters, personal and professional papers, and records of organizations, families, and individuals, including those of businessmen, labor leaders, clergymen, soldiers, political leaders, lawyers, scientists, historians, and architects
  • Local histories, directories, atlases, maps, contemporary works, and scholarship documenting Illinois history
  • An extensive collection of works on Abraham Lincoln, including biographies, collections of Lincoln’s writings, sheet music, children’s books, and scholarship on various facets of his life, professional and political career, and presidency, as well as his assassination and legacy
  • A wide array of 19th-century printed ephemera and other visual materials for both Lincoln and Illinois

Map Library

Quick facts:

  • Library’s primary location for cartographic materials, such as maps, atlases, and Illinois aerial photography (1939-2005)
  • Contains more than 630,000 maps and aerial photographs, including worldwide coverage and sometimes rare material, produced during the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries

Of particular note:

  • Scans and makes maps and atlases available via the Digital Library, including:
    • Sanborn fire insurance maps for Illinois towns
    • Indexes to Illinois aerial photography held in the Map Library
    • Historic maps of Illinois
    • Rivers of Illinois
    • World War I-era maps and atlases
    • USDA soil maps (in progress)
  • Offers resources on place names, cartographic techniques, history of cartography, remote sensing and aerial photography, and geographic information science (GIS)
  • Provides access to maps, including geologic mapping, and large-format atlases housed in the Oak Street Library 
 
 
 
 
 
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