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Special Collections and Rare Book Department: 19th and 20th Century Collections

Outlines major collections, provides links to finding aids and describes services of the Special Collections and Rare Book Department at Western Michigan University.

Images from the Collections

Frontispiece of Through Masai Land... by Joseph Thomson, 1885. From the Alan H. Jacobs East Africa Collection

Cover of limited edition book, 1981. From the Seamus Cooney Black Sparrow Press Collection


Nazi pilots

German aviators plotting their course for a bombing run over Great Britain. Loose plate from WWII Propaganda and Print Collection

Major 19th & 20th Century Collections

WMU Special Collections holds many materials which were produced during the 19th and 20th centuries, including collections of personal and scholarly papers, books published in limited editions or with annotations and inscriptions and specialized collections donated by individuals.  The collections particularly pertain to the histories and literatures of Europe and the United States, although significant collections relating to aspects of nineteenth and twentieth Africa are found in the Alan Jacobs and Edward Callan collections. most of these items are cataloged individually in the WMU Libraries online catalogs.

Small 19th & 20th Century Archival Collections

Many of the 19th & 20th century collections are small and specialized.  In addition, there are collections in American women's poetry, children's books or Cistercian Studies, associated with this period, which appear in other sections of this guide.  Listed below are a few of these smaller collections.