Michigan State University
 X 

The Main Library is open, though we have reduced hours. We have temporarily closed study spaces to support the request that students self-quarantine. Study spaces will remain closed until Monday, Sept. 28, but we will maintain access to patron services for material check out and pick up. Outside of safety, our top priority is to provide access to all of our collections. We continue to offer virtual services. We also are paging materials and will continue to mail materials to faculty, staff, and students living off-campus. We encourage you to use our convenient distance services. Please see our Online and Distance Learning resource page for more information.

Murray and Hong Special Collections Hours

Hours and Appointments Information

Instagram tumblr for MSU Provenance project Twitter Facebook

Location

Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections
Main Library Building
Michigan State University
366 W. Circle Drive
East Lansing MI, 48824
Phone: (517) 884-6471
spc@lib.msu.edu

Reading Room: First Floor, Across from Patron Services, Main Library

Discover Special Collections

Robert Coles Papers

Photo of Robert Coles

Robert Coles, the eminent child psychiatrist and author of over 80 books, has donated his papers to Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections. The Robert Coles Papers consists of working drafts and manuscripts of Coles' books, articles, and essays, and over 90,000 pages of correspondences spanning five decades. In addition to many other awards, Coles is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship; the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest honor; and the Pulitzer Prize for his five volume "Children of Crisis" series. Coles also donated the literary and business files of DoubleTake, an award winning magazine of documentary photography, nonfiction, fiction, and poetry.

Ramparts

Ramparts issue with Vietnamese First Lady Madame Nhu as an MSU cheerleader

Originally started in 1962 as a Catholic literary quarterly by Edward Keating, Ramparts soon became associated with the New Left of the 1960's under the influence of such editors as Warren Hinkle, Robert Scheer, and James F. Colaianni. Ramparts was an early critic of the Vietnam War publishing the first national article denouncing the use of napalm and exposed the CIA use of American universities including Michigan State for training Vietnamese security forces. Indeed, one of the most famous Ramparts covers pictures then Vietnamese First Lady Madame Nhu as an MSU cheerleader as part of an expose regarding the cooperation between MSU and the CIA that occurred during the 1960's. Ramparts also provided a venue for discussion of the arts and culture including contributions from poet Allen Ginsberg, reporter Hunter S. Thompson, and John Lennon.

History of the Book (HST 475 / ENG 475)

Old book

Have you seen the treasures that MSU’s libraries hold? HST 475/ENG 475, a seminar course, will examine the history of books, reading, and printing from the late Middle Ages until the present. Created and taught in conjunction with the staff of the Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections at the Main Library, the seminar will consider the evolution of print culture by using specimens from MSU’s varied collections. Discussions will emerge from readings on book history as well as on interactions with the librarians who investigate, preserve, and organize the collections. The focus of the seminar will be on print in all its forms: From manuscripts to comic books, from early print to newspapers and mass market publishing.

Arsenal Collection

Front cover of Eyes Front America

Eyes Front America was published in 1951, to warn U.S. citizens of impending slavery through loss of liberty and property rights, and how they can “fight back against the enemies within the nation” based on the ideals and philosophy of America Plus. Censorship, a growing federal government, the United Nations, and the threat of communism were all presented as tyrannical and threats to civil liberties and the “Promise of 1776.” Eyes Front America is part of the Arsenal Collection, a growing collection of over 10,000 items issued by extremist or right-wing organizations and agitators dating from the late nineteenth century to the present.

Shadows from the Walls of Death

A page with sample of Paris green paint (arsenic)

One of a handful of surviving copies of Shadows from the walls of death; facts and inferences prefacing a book of specimens of arsenical wall papers (Lansing, 1874) by Professor Robert C. Kedzie, a physician turned chemistry professor who for many years taught at Michigan Agricultural College is held in Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections. Appointed to the first State Board of Health for Michigan, Kedzie wrote of the deaths that resulted from wallpaper tinted with arsenic (Paris green). Kedzie cut up 80 rolls of wallpaper containing the deadly arsenic-green and produced 100 copies for distribution to state libraries along with his scientific conclusions. The copy in Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections has been conserved and the wallpaper specimens encapsulated to protect staff and patrons.

Pre 1866 Books in the Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong 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.

Gervase Markham

Pages from the Art of Fowling

The Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections is pleased to hold a large collection of books by Gervase Markham (1568-1637) who, in the late 16th and early 17th century, wrote on a variety of topics.  Our latest acquisition is the scarce second edition of Hungers prevention, or, The whole art of fowling by water and land : containing all the secrets belonging to that art, and brought into a true forme or method ..., which provides instructions and charming illustrations for gathering and hunting for food. It is also the first book to describe the existence of flintlock and its use on sitting fowl.

Veterinary Medicine Historical Collection

Medical illustration of horse

“Proportions Geometrales du Cheval,” is an illustration from Elemens d’Hippiatrique, Claude Bourgelat’s seminal book on equine medicine. The Veterinary Medicine Historical Collection in the Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections is one of the finest collections of early veterinary medicine in the world. The collection features over 1,400 manuscripts and books covering the arts and practices of the veterinary profession beginning in the 15th century.

Antiphonale

Illuminated Letter of the Antiphonale

The Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections holds a beautiful and very large “Antiphonale” probably dating from the 15th century. It was donated in 1951 by the E.K. Warren Foundation, but little else is known about the manuscript except that marginal notations suggest it spent a portion of its life in a Spanish monastery and was probably copied for the Benedictine Order of the Catholic Church. An “Antiphonale” is a collection of liturgical chants surrounding the Psalm verses appropriate to the day of the Church year. The chants would be sung in unison by the choir in alternation (antiphonally) with the officiant who would chant the Psalm verses. You can listen to six verses of the Advent hymn, “Conditor alme siderum,” which precedes the antiphons in this manuscript. It was probably sung daily at or near the opening of the service and the hymn is still in use today; the most common translation is “Creator of the Stars of Night.”

Provenance Project

A page from Giovanni Villani's Florentine Chronicle

The Provenance Project at the MSU Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong 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. A detailed provenance record can 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.