In 1985, the Louisiana State University (LSU) Libraries organized the Special Collections division to administer its rare books, manuscripts, and other special research collections. The collections, previously dispersed in the libraries' main building, were moved to Hill Memorial Library, which had been renovated for that purpose. Originally constructed in 1925 as the university's main library, Hill stands on the historic quadrangle at the heart of the LSU campus.
Today, Special Collections comprises more than 200,000 published volumes, 10 million manuscript items, 200,000 photographs, 24,000 reels of microfilm, hundreds of oral histories, and other diverse materials for research. Voluminous manuscript holdings document life in Louisiana from the 18th through the 20th centuries. Political papers record the careers of senators Russell Long, J. Bennett Johnston, and John Breaux, among others. University Archives documents the development of a once-small military school into a large research institution. Special Collections is a comprehensive state document depository, houses the Louisiana Newspaper Project, and is the repository for the T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History. It holds treasures of ornithological and botanical illustration, including the elephant folio of Audubon's Birds of America (1827–38), Edward Lear's Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots (1830), the Alecto edition of Sir Joseph Banks's Florilegium (1990), and watercolor drawings of Louisiana flora by Margaret Stones. Antiquarian holdings are strongest in 18th-century British history and literature, but include high points related to travel and voyages, such as the Description de l'Égypte and Kircher's China Monumentis. Strong collections of science fiction and comics provide materials for the study of popular culture. Modern book arts flourish, with comprehensive collections of the Janus Press, Circle Press, and books printed by Harry Duncan, as well as works from presses ranging from Arion to Wayzgoose.
Louisiana State University Libraries
Hill Memorial Library
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803-3300
(225) 578-9425 (f)