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Michigan State University Libraries

Library Overview

The Special Collections Division of the Michigan State University Libraries was established in 1962, and by 1970 had become the university's depository not only for rare books, but also for "sensitive" radical materials, and "ephemeral" popular materials. Given the school's agricultural foundation, it is not surprising that the library's first rare books were primarily in the fields of agriculture, botany, and zoology. Over the years the number of rare book holdings has increased with the addition of outstanding collections in apiculture, cookery, fencing, and veterinary medicine. Rare collections on the French monarchy, the Italian Risorgimento, and German criminology are also held. The Michigan Writers Collection includes publications and papers of authors primarily related to Michigan State University, including Tom McGuane and Richard Ford. The Russel B. Nye Popular Culture Collection is among the best general collections of its kind, holding popular fiction in appropriately great quantities, notably westerns, science fiction, mysteries, and romances, Sunday school books, textbooks, and the Comic Art Collection. The Radicalism Collection includes books, pamphlets, and runs of periodicals from dozens of organizations of the radical left and right, plus files of press clippings and miscellanea on hundreds of causes and movements. Radicalism also includes feminism, lesbian, gay, and transgender materials and a men's movement collection. Archives of materials on the Students for a Democratic Society, the draft resistance movement, the peace movement, and an African Activist Archive are also maintained. The Vincent Voice Library of sound recordings and the Turfgrass Information Center are also nationally important collections in the library, though they are administratively outside of the Special Collections Division.

Michigan State University
Special Collections Division
100 Library
Michigan State University Libraries
East Lansing, Michigan 48824-1048
(517) 432-6123 x100 (t)