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Collections Overview

The Special Collections & Archives division collections comprise more than half a million items, ranging from ostraka, cuneiform tablets, papyri, illuminated manuscripts, and incunabula to modern artist books, literary manuscripts, and business records.

The primary areas of collection strengths include Napoleon and the French Revolution, poetry, Florida political collections, Southern business history, literary manuscripts, local and regional history, and the history of Florida State University.

Manuscript Collections
Political Collections
Florida State University History Collections
Rare Books

Manuscript Collections

Special Collections’ manuscript holdings support scholarship at the local, national, and international levels. The four primary categories for manuscripts include Florida political collections; Southern business history; literary manuscripts; and local and regional history. Some of the noteworthy manuscript collections include the papers of Paul A.M. Dirac, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics; manuscript collections relating to the Civil War; and collections relating to civil rights. The manuscript collections can be searched using the Libraries online catalog. More detailed finding aids are available online or in the repository.

Political Collections

The Claude Pepper Library is the official repository for the Claude Pepper Papers, which includes manuscripts, photographs, audio-visual materials, and memorabilia by and about United States Congressman Claude Pepper. The Pepper Collection is especially valuable to researchers who are conducting research in 20th century policy studies, diplomacy, international affairs, and American history. Topic strengths within the collection include Aging, Civil Rights, Crime, Drug Prevention, Health Care, Law, Lend-Lease, McCarthyism, Social Security, U.S. Foreign and Domestic Policy, Vietnam, Watergate, Welfare, Worker's Rights, and World War II.  

The Pepper Library also houses the Reubin Askew Papers, an archival collection of manuscripts, photographs, audio-visual materials, and memorabilia collected by Florida Governor Reubin Askew. The Askew Collection includes Askew's personal correspondence, campaign papers, photographs, and memorabilia. 

Florida State University History Collections

The University Archives preserves the history of Florida State University by collecting and providing access to important historical records such as correspondence and publications of the university; photographs documenting faculty and students, events, buildings, and campus scenes; scrapbooks; papers of distinguished FSU alumni and faculty; and memorabilia documenting student life and university traditions. Key publications such as yearbooks, course catalogs, reports, and the FSU newspaper are preserved as part of the University Archives and are a critical resource for anyone studying the history of FSU. To find collections relating to FSU history, search the online catalog. More detailed finding aids or inventories to archival collections are available in our Finding Aids and the Heritage Protocol site.

Heritage Protocol is a campus-wide initiative to document and preserve the history of Florida State University. Particular emphasis is placed on documenting the student experience through collecting items and artifacts that tell the stories of the many students who have attended the university. Heritage Protocol collections include photographs, documents, audio-visual materials, scrapbooks, memorabilia and related materials about the history of the university and its predecessor institutions. Databases for searching the Heritage Protocol & University Archives collections are available online.

Rare Books

The rare books of Special Collections support a wide variety of disciplines and research interests. The collection includes incunabula, books from small and private presses, first editions, artist books, and other limited edition works. These books support the teaching and research needs of students and faculty and are frequently used in exhibitions and course instruction. Some of the notable rare book collections include:

•Napoleon and the French Revolution
•John M. Shaw Childhood in Poetry Collection
•Kelmscott Press Collection
•McGregor Collection on the Discovery and Exploration of the Americas
•Carothers Memorial Rare Bibles Collection
•Louise Richardson Herbals Collection
•Lois Lenski Collection (books and illustrations by the author and artist Lenski)
•Nancy Bird Fore-Edge Paintings Collection
•Robert M. Ervin, Jr. Collection (science fiction, fantasy, horror, and comics)
•Florida Collection

All books can be searched using the Libraries online catalog.

Image: Robert Burns, The Scottish keepsake, or The songs of the Ayrshire Bard, 1844

About The Florida State University Libraries

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