Guidelines Saving your Collections Archivally at
On April 30, 1877, David Starr Jordan, professor of natural
history at Butler University, presented a collection of preserved
fishes to the University Cabinet. This remained the only recorded
gift of a special collection to the university until the year 1925,
when Charles W. Moores donated his collection of Lincoln material.
Six years later, in 1931, William F. Charters gave his collection
of books about the South Sea Islands to Butler; it remains today
one of the largest and most important single gifts yet received by
the Butler University libraries.
From 1931 until the Irwin Library was opened for service in
1963, no special collections were acquired. New libraries, however,
seem to inspire donors, and the first gift to the Irwin Library was
the Gaar Williams-Kin Hubbard collection of original art, books,
manuscripts, and memorabilia given by Blanche Stillson in 1964.
The construction of the Hugh Thomas Miller Rare Book Room, which
was dedicated on November 20, 1971, provided proper housing for
library special collections for the first time in the university's
history. During its first four years, the new facility saw the
acquisition and donation of a wide variety of special collections.
Accompanying this largesse, however, was an enormous increase in
problems and responsibilities for the care, cataloguing, and
maintenance of this material. Lack of support funds brought a
temporary halt to activities in August 1974. In 1979, the Rare Book
Room received a substantial legacy from the estate of Blanche
Stillson, which allowed for the hiring of a qualified person to
manage the neglected collections. Today, special collections
continue to hold vital meaning for Butler University, the larger
community, and the world of learning.
from "Special Collections at Butler University," by Richard
A. Davis, in Treasures at Butler University
Strengths of special collections cover such areas as Jean
Sibelius, Abraham Lincoln, Kin Hubbard, Gaar Williams, 15th to 19th
century botanical and zoological prints, early educational
materials, 19th-century American sheet music, and African American
Listed below are major collections of books or archival
materials housed in Irwin Library's Special Collections and Rare
Books Room. Materials are described in the University's on-line
catalog. Some collections also have supplementary access lists;
these are available on-site and, as they become available, via the
Special Collections and Rare Books webpage.
For descriptions of the collections, appropriate search
strategies, available access lists, and copyright information,
click on the appropriate links.
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Note: The National Track & Field Hall of Fame
Historical Research Library collection has been moved to the
Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles. Please contact them
directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit
their web page: http://www.la84foundation.org/
Last updated January 8, 2013.