Special Collections and Vance University Archives
Special Collections is the place in the general library where we keep any items that are scarce, fragile, or valuable. Additionally we have a number of subject collections. Any type of library material that meets the above criteria can be found in special collections, such as printed books, journals, newspapers, maps, atlases, photographs, reports, diaries, correspondence, etc.
Rare Book Collections
What is a "rare" book? Simply put, it can be any book in its original or unique format that is scarce, fragile or valuable. Additionally, it can be a book that the library decides to preserve in its original condition. This area contains almost 8,000 titles relating to all areas of St. Lawrence's broad liberal arts curriculum. We are acquiring new rare books annually. Although all of our rare books are catalogued in ODYssues and Encore, click here for some of our specific focus collections.
This area contains 190 manuscript collections, comprising over 1800 linear feet of material, plus a number of individual manuscript items. Each of these collections is described in brief on ODYsseus the Libraries’ online catalog. Additionally, many have detailed, searchable finding aids. We are actively making more of our collections available online and adding new manuscripts to our collections.
This area represents the "institutional memory" of St. Lawrence University. In it can be found thousands of photographs, University publications, Administrative, student and alumni records, faculty member information and records of University events, buildings and grounds...anything related to the nearly 160-year history of SLU.
A number of the library's Special Collections holdings have been fully or partially digitized, providing much wider and more convenient access to these materials. Our digital collections offerings are continuing to expand, and currently include the Sunderland Civil War Correspondence, the Dwight P. Church Photograph Collection, Selected Letters of Frederic Remington, Rockwell Kent Collection, historic photos of St. Lawrence University Buildings and Grounds, the SLU Gridiron Yearbook and the University's student newspaper the Hill News.
Resources for Faculty and Students
Special Collections materials inspire students by adding another dimension to their understanding of ideas and texts. Books, documents, maps and photographs-- in their original or early formats-- offer additional “texts” (sometimes called paratext) for students to consider. Plus they are just plain fun. In recent years we have worked with classes in Economics, English, History, Fine Arts, Global Studies, Sociology, and the First Year Program. We have items and collections that are of interest to disciplines across the curriculum, and we can: Prepare specialized resource lists of materials available for particular courses & subjects. Host class visits in the Special Collections Reading room to introduce your classes to our resources and effective ways to use them. Assist you in designing assignments that use our materials. Assist students in ongoing research projects using our materials. Assist you in your own research by acquiring or locating specific materials.
Guidelines for Use of Collections
Anyone is welcome to use the special collections and archives. If you are coming from out-of-town, we would prefer that you contact us ahead of time so that we can make any necessary preparations, but if that is not possible, please feel free to visit anyway. Before using the collections, you will be required to present valid identification and fill out a request to examine specific materials. None of the items in these collections circulate, and all must be used within our reading room. Users are welcome to bring laptop computers. If you are taking notes manually, you must use only pencils--no ball-point or fountain pens are allowed.