About Special Collections
The importance of collecting rare and special books for use as unique research tools has been recognized by the Michigan State University Libraries since its beginning in the mid-nineteenth century. Honoring this commitment, Special Collections was formally established in 1962 with the charge to house special materials, as well as to build, preserve, and make accessible important research collections for educational use.
Today, Special Collections holds over 450,000 printed works, numerous manuscript and archival collections, and an extensive collection of ephemera supporting research in popular culture, radicalism, comic art, and gender. Notable rare book collections include early veterinary medicine, eighteenth century British history and culture, modern American literature, cookery, and natural history. The Russel B. Nye Popular Culture Collection is one of the largest collections of its kind in the world while the Radicalism Collection features extensive holdings on a wide range of political, social, and economic viewpoints. All of the materials may be seen and used in the Special Collections reading room during open hours.
The staff of Special Collections strives to preserve the heritage of the past and acquire important records of contemporary culture while making these materials available for use.