A Guide to Temple University Library's Special Collections

Temple University Libraries' Special Collections Research Center boasts a rich, broad array of primary-source materials that support specific research interests within the university. These collections preserve the cultural, historical and scholarly record for students, faculty and scholars, as well as the broader community. Ranging from university archives, to rare books and manuscripts from the earliest years of printing through today, to artists' books and collections on 20th-century culture, these materials are the hidden treasures in our library collections.

Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection

The Rare Books & Manuscripts Collection opened formally in 1967, and is home to a trove of resources specializing in 20th-century literature, 19th- and 20th-century printing, publishing, lithography, book illustration and fine printing. (Throughout the 19405 and '505, rare books and manuscripts were collected by Temples head librarian, Walter Hausdorfer.)

Rare books, found in the Hausdorfer Rare Book Room, document the history of printing, book design, literature and language through printing techniques and stunning illustrations. Many are literary classics and important biblical, religious, cultural and historical works offering an invaluable record for scholars, students and bibliophiles. Manuscripts include complementary author correspondence and papers.

The manuscripts component also holds one-of-a-kind collections documenting modern and contemporary history, such as the Philadelphia Lesbian and Gay Taskforce archives and the Daily News WWII Stories archive, extensive performing arts archives and growing holdings on music and music therapy. The Cochran History of Business collection, with nearly 500 pre-i8oo documents and manuscripts, is another unique holding.

The Rare Books & Manuscripts Collection also holds the Prints and Drawings, Photographs and Artifact collections.

Significant collections include:

The Bush-Brown Horticulture and Landscape Gardening collection—extensive examples of herbals from the 15th through the 19th centuries and books on gardening, landscape and animal husbandry.

The J.S. Ladd Thomas and Frederick E. Maser Bible and Book of Common Prayer collection—imprints ranging from a leaf of the Gutenberg Bible (1455-56) to 20th-century fine printing.

The Modern First Editions collection—works of Georgian and Imagist writers, particularly Walter de la Mare and Richard Aldington, with additional collections of Robert Louis Stevenson, Joseph Conrad, Walt Whitman, Sir Walter Scott, Matthew Gregory Lewis and more.

The Nordell Puritanism collection—rare and early books and pamphlets published in England and New England before 1700 that illustrate the development of ideas including rational thought, liberty of conscience in religion, witchcraft and democratic principles.

The Printing, Publishing and Bookselling collections—graphics, artifacts, proofs, printing examples and booksellers' catalogs. Included are the collections of the papers and library of Richard Ellis (Georgian Press), the archives of William J. Campbell (book-seller and publisher), the Beck Engraving Company, smaller collections of individual printers and book-sellers and halftone collections of Frederick Eugene Ives, and Lewis and Max Levy.

The 35,ooo-item Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries/Pew Charitable Trust regional booksellers' catalog union collection.

Manuscript collections—Frances Hirtzel collection of Sir Richard Owen correspondence (paleontologist), the papers of Charles Morice, the E.S. Stuart papers (former Pennsylvania Governor), the Francois Joseph Jerome Nickles correspondence (chemistry) and the Gertrude Traubel papers (daughter of Horace Traubel, close friend of Walt Whitman).

The George Tyler War Poster collection—nearly 2,500 international posters from World Wars I and II.

Artist's Books

The Special Collections Research Center holds over 400 unique artworks in the form of artists' books. These books are not about art—they are instead original works, usually published in small editions, employing a wide range of forms. The department began collecting these for the Contemporary Culture Collection and the Rare Books & Manuscripts Collection in the 19708. The breadth and depth of these holdings has expanded from the 19805 through today.

Conwellana-Templana Collection

University archives are an important part of the special collections holdings at large research libraries, and the Conwellana-Templana Collection is no exception. Established in 1946 as a memorial to University founder Russell H. Conwell, it has broadened since 1965 to serve as an archive for Temple publications, minutes of the Board of Trustees, papers of Temple presidents and administrators, and records of university-wide committees. Campus culture is documented through student publications, information on campus activities and the personal papers of scholars, professors and alumni. Annual reports, catalogs, yearbooks, newspapers (student, faculty and administrative), journals and magazines can also be found in the collection. The portion dedicated to Conwell holds his published books and sermons as well as manuscripts, correspondence and ephemera.

Contemporary Culture Collection

The Contemporary Culture Collection (ccc) is a distinctive resource—one of the region's most extensive collections of publications by alternative, independent and small literary publishers; political organizations of the far left and right; social reform and liberation movement organizations; alternative lifestyle and energy advocates; and radicals in the professions. These publications provide dramatically different perspectives on contemporary issues and are often the first, and sometimes only, sources of information on the topics they address.

The CCC contains 5,000 journal, newsletter, and newspaper titles and 5,000 books and pamphlets. It also includes microfilm, audiotapes, posters and broadsides, ephemera holdings and manuscript collections of the Liberation News Service, the Committee of Small Press Editors and Publishers, Youth Liberation, Seven Days and the personal papers of poet Lyn Lifshin.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Collection

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Collection is Philadelphia's best and only large academic collection on these topics. Holdings document the evolution of science fiction and fantasy through pulps, igth- and 20th-century first editions, book club and paperback editions. The collection also documents fan culture and criticism through fanzines and academic journals.

In-depth collecting of science fiction began in 1972 with the acquisition of David Paskow's collection. In 1986, with the gift of Roger Knuth, fantasy was added to the canon. The collection is now comprised of more than 20,000 volumes, magazines, over 100 cubic feet of manuscripts and selected posters, paintings, drawings and related materials. The Rare Books & Manuscripts Collection holds supportive materials including the Gelfand H.G. Wells collection.

Pulp magazine issues, Science Fiction Collection

Manuscripts held in this collection include: the papers of Ben Bova (science and sci fi author), Lloyd Eshbach (sci fi author and publisher), Tom Purdom, Stanley G. Weinbaum (sci fi authors) and the archives of the Fantasy Press and the Enterprising Women Fan Fiction collection, among others.

Philadelphia Dance Collection

Established in 2001, the Philadelphia Dance Collection preserves the diverse dance legacy of the Philadelphia region, documents local dance phenomena and educates the local artistic communities as to the inherent value of dance heritage preservation. Records, manuscripts and materials from community and university dance companies and organizations, as well as individual performing artists, comprise the multi-format holdings in the collection. Archival materials such as programs, posters, business records, photographs, other still images, films, videos, DVDS, other moving images, sound recordings, digital media, set materials, props, ephemera and more document the history of dance.


Visiting the Special Collections Research Center

The department is open from 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Monday-Friday at:

Paley Library 1210 Polett Walk Philadelphia, PA 19122

Call ahead to make an appointment to see rare books or schedule a tour (note that some collections are held off-site and require notice for use):

telephone: 215-204-8257 fax: 215-204-5201 http://library.temple.edu/scrc