Special Collections houses and maintains over 700 manuscript collections of primary research material. A manuscript collection contains a variety of materials and may include letters, journals, publications, writings, or business papers. Collections may be centered around an individual, an organization, or a specialized topic. While the term “manuscript” technically refers to handwritten material, a collection may contain a variety of different formats including handwritten letters, typed articles or manuscripts, photographs, film reels, audio cassettes, reel-to-reel recordings, VHS cassettes or DVDs, floppy disks, and other material.
Collection strengths include Southern history and culture, the Fugitive and Agrarian literary groups, journalism, performing arts, fine arts, and Latin America.
Since many of these collections are quite substantial, access is provided through indexes called Guides to Collections which provide both an overview of the collection, as well as a box-by-box listing of what the collection contains. These guides can be invaluable in helping researchers narrow the focus of their research for large collections which may consist of several hundred boxes of material. Guides for some of the collections can be found in the library catalog. For a complete list of all our manuscript collections, please see our Alphabetical List.
Our Alphabetical List of manuscript collections lists every collection. Collections named for people are listed in Last Name-First Name format. Collections named after organizations, are listed by the first word in the organization's title.
Our Subject Guide lists our manuscript collections by topic. Collections which are awaiting processing may not appear on this list because their full scope and content may not be known. For a full list of all collections, please see the Alphabetical List.
Over the years, Special Collections has created a series of annotated subject-based research guides for frequently requested topics and for classes taught by the department. Research Guides can be developed for academic courses on request.
Researchers can use the Search This Site box in the top left column to search the entire web site by keyword. This search covers collection guides as well as other digital content on the Special Collections website.