Materials in Special Collections total over 90,000 items. The collections are diverse and range from a substantial Rare Book Collection with material dating to the eighth century to the Comic Art Collection, focused on underground comics, classic comic strips, and graphic novels. The collections include books, periodicals, manuscripts, maps, posters, printed ephemera, and artifacts. Access a complete alphabetical listing of collections
Teachers and faculty are encouraged to use the collections of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts and incunables in classes and student projects; they are an excellent resource for teaching the history of the book.
Highlights include thousands of early editions of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century fiction, serials, and pamphlets in the Rare Book Collection, as well as political cartoons and underground publications from the early and mid-twentieth century.
Over a thousand posters document war and anti-war efforts in the United States, France, and Germany during World Wars I and II.
Holdings in this area include the personal and professional papers of Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Lanford Wilson, a collection of twentieth-century theatre programs, and hundreds of published plays, librettos, and technical manuals from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in the Rare Book Collection.
In support of MU’s recognized strengths in the life sciences, the Rare Book Collection contains landmarks of early scientific thought, including early herbals, natural history treatises, and groundbreaking works on medicine, biology, and anatomy.
The textbooks date from 1770-1929. Most were published in the centers of textbook production–New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and Cincinnati–but cities across the country are also represented.
There are many other resources on the Special Collections website: