The Special Collections and University Archives was formed in 1969 to protect, preserve, and make available to scholars the library's most valuable materials. The genesis of the collection was in the form of a gift from W. Lloyd Wright in 1950. The gift included numerous rare books, as well as letters from such prominent individuals as John Adams, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Mark Twain. Current holdings of the department include approximately 60,000 books, over 15,000 linear feet of manuscript collections and university records, approximately 50,000 audiovisual recordings, more than 45,000 graphic images, and over 1,000 maps of various kinds.
The department has a strong Washingtoniana collection, which focuses on the history of the city since the founding of the nation to the present day. This includes items such as city directories dating back to the early 1800s, and the journal of the Historical Society of Washington, DC.
In 1996, through the gift of the I. Edward Kiev Judaica Collection by Dr. Ari and Phyllis Kiev, the Special Collections and University Archives embarked on the building of a world-class Judaica and Hebraica collection. To date, the Kiev Collection has grown from an initial 18,000 titles to over 22,000 titles.
The gift of the Westwood One Mutual Broadcasting System collection marked the beginning of a new area of collecting in the history of American journalism and broadcast communications.
George Washington University
Gelman Library System
Special Collections and University Archives
2130 H. Street NW, Suite 704
Washington, D.C. 20052
(202) 994-7549 (t)
(202) 463-6205 (f)