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Art 3441: History of Graphic Design in Special Collections: Collections

An introduction to Special Collections for students in Dr. Jean Brueggenjohann's History of Graphic Design class.


Press Ephemera Collection

The collection contains material on private and specialty presses, dating primarily from the 1980s to the present. Many items in the collection are prospectuses and offerings of new books by the presses. The items are often specially printed on unusual and handmade papers or with special printing techniques.

World War I and II Poster Collection

These are a great resource for those interested in early- and mid-twentieth century graphic design.

Rare Book Collection

The Rare Book Collection is diverse. Holdings span the eighth to the twentieth centuries and include early manuscripts and manuscript fragments, printed books, periodicals, pamphlets, and broadsides.

Medieval Manuscript Collections

Special Collections has a number of manuscript books, single leaves, and collections. 

Fragmenta Manuscripta

Fragmenta Manuscripta is a collection of manuscript leaves and fragments dating from the eighth to the seventeenth century.  The Fragmenta Manuscripta collection has been completely digitized and is available through the Digital Scriptorium.

Pages from the Past

Pages from the Past is a collection of manuscript and rare book leaves compiled and sold by a New York book dealer.  Access the MERLIN catalog record or a PDF list of the leaves.

Early Printing Collections

Books printed before 1501 are called incunabula.  MU’s collection includes works printed by Jenson, Manutius, and Koberger, among others.

Finding Materials

Special Collections Web site

Some materials in Special Collections are not in the MERLIN catalog.  The Special Collections Web site is the best place to start.

MERLIN catalog

Limit your search to Special Collections using the "Specific Library Location" option under Advanced Search.  See the "How to Search MERLIN" tab above.

Can't find it?

Contact your librarian!  We're here to help.

Visiting Special Collections

Special Collections materials can be used in the Reading Room on 4 West, Ellis Library.  You'll be asked to fill out a small form for each item you'd like to see.

You can have a pencil, paper, a computer and a camera with you at the reading tables.  You'll be asked to store your backpack and coat elsewhere.

Bring a photo ID!  Your MU student ID or a driver's license will be fine.

Most materials cannot be checked out, but you can put them on hold in the Reading Room.

You can take pictures with your phone or a camera.  But remember - no flash!  If you have Special Collections staff make photos or scans for you, the cost is 50 cents per image.

More information on using Special Collections