Michigan State University

MSU Libraries' Events

Library Events (MSU Events Calendar)

From our writers and film series to traveling exhibits, come to one of the many events and programs we offer here at MSU Libraries. We look forward to seeing you!

On Display in the Business Library: Social Media

Business Library Display Case

Come in and see our display case about social media and don't forget to follow us on Twitter and Instagram!

Pirates, Industry and War: British Magazine Maps of the 18th Century

British Magazine Map

Pirates, Industry and War were featured heavily in 18th Century British news.  Monthly topical and current events magazines evolved as a popular publication style at this time to help educated males in a growing Empire keep up with the latest events.  The most prominent and among the earliest was Gentleman’s Magazine, which began as a digest reprinting the best articles from the slew of dailies and weeklies available in London.  Over time it and its many competitors began to offer original content. 

See the Online Exhibit

This website reproduces a variety of maps from the MSU Map Library Collection which appeared in British magazines in the 18th century. 

Pre 1866 Books in Special Collections

MSU President Theophilus Abbot

When MSU Libraries formally created its Special Collections department in 1962, the initial collection of books was formed largely by transferring the oldest books from the circulating collection—anything published before 1800—into a protected area. Half a century later, we’re undertaking a similar transfer, only this time with a younger cut-off date. With few exceptions, all books published before 1866 are being moved into Special Collections. When completed, the library will have safeguarded roughly 15,000 books, many of which are fragile, valuable, and often both. Among the variety of reasons for settling on this particular cut-off date, perhaps most important was the balance struck between the desire to protect as many at-risk books as possible with the sheer volume of transfers that library staff time could accommodate. These 15,000 books will include everything published through the end of the American Civil War; a large swath of the library’s early collection, including some from the personal library of past MSU President Theophilus Abbot; and the remainder of the library’s circulating books that were published during the hand-press period—that is, from a time when books were still made entirely by hand.

Provenance Project

A page from Giovanni Villani's Florentine Chronicle

The Provenance Project at MSU Special Collections is an ongoing effort to systematically catalog marks of ownership and marks of use in rare books here at Michigan State University.  A team of library employees and volunteers documents and studies the copy-specific features of these rare books, such as bookplates, owner signatures, bookseller’s notes, library markings, unique bindings, handwritten annotations, and more. By looking at these clues, we hope to learn more about the “life stories” of our books: where they have been, who owned them, and how they might have been read and used.  A detailed provenance record can also shed light on the world outside of our books, giving us crucial insight into the habits of readers, the popularity of particular works and genres, as well as the history of the book and the book trade. One volume that rewards such close study is our 1537 printing of the Florentine Chronicle by Giovanni Villani.  A previous owner has filled the margins of this important historical work with extensive annotations, providing commentary on the text and illustrating several of the author’s key points.

Provenance Project

Library Logo, a book

The Provenance Project at Special Collections, MSU Libraries is an ongoing effort to document copy-specific features of the libraries’ rare books, such as bookplates, booksellers’ notes, ownership inscriptions, marginalia, and more.

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