The Special Collections & Archives division collections comprise more than half a million items, ranging from ostraka, cuneiform tablets, papyri, illuminated manuscripts, and incunabula to modern artist books, literary manuscripts, and business records.
The primary areas of collection strengths include:
The mission of Heritage & University Archives is to locate, identify, record, assist in the preservation of, and promote knowledge about the history of Florida State University and its predecessor institutions. Students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, and friends have expressed this heritage through published, unpublished, audio and visual materials, memorabilia, ceremonial objects, and official university records.
An overview of the history of Florida State University and its predecessor institutions can be found on the Florida State Heritage & University Archives Research Guide.
The Florida State University Pride Student Union Records document the founding and development of Pride including its predecessor and auxiliary organizations. The collection contains administrative records, promotional materials, artwork, banners, newspapers, and journal and magazine clippings produced and collected by the organization since the late 1960s. Selections from this collection are digitized and available in DigiNole: FSU’s Digital Repository
The university holds over 500,000 images in various formats dating from the late 1800’s to the present that captures the campus, student life, events, and university programs. University historical photographs from many collections are digitized and available in DigiNole: FSU’s Digital Repository
The publication of yearbooks at Florida State University began in 1901 with the Argo. In 1909, the name of the school changed to Florida State College for Women and, one year later, the institution published its first yearbook entitled Flastacowo. In 1947, the school returned to coeducational as Florida State University and in 1948 it published its first yearbook, Tally Ho!. Since then, the yearbook has been published under various titles including Artifacts and Renegade. Publication of the yearbooks ceased after the 2008 Renegade. All editions of the FSU yearbooks are are digitized and available in DigiNole: FSU’s Digital Repository
Newspapers, magazines, oral histories, photographs, government records, scholarly literature, creative works, and other materials documenting the murder of Emmett Till and its commemoration, memorialization, and discussion in scholarship and popular culture. Select materials from the Archives are digitized and available in DigiNole: FSU’s Digital Repository
Sound recordings and transcripts of oral history interviews regarding events related to the civil rights movement in Tallahassee during the late 1950s and early 1960s.
FSU Special Collections & Archives houses one of the largest research collections in the world on Napoleonic studies and the French Revolution. Letters, journals, memoirs, newspapers, pamphlets and over 10,000 published books provide insight into the social, political, and military history of the times. More information about the history of the collection and materials can be found in the French Revolution & Napoleon Collections Research Guide.
Ancient texts in the Special Collections & Archives of Florida State University Libraries include cuneiform tablets, ostraka, and papyrus fragments created between 3,000 BC and 500 AD. More information about each collection is available in the Ancient Texts at FSU Libraries Research Guide. Materials in these collections are digitized and available in DigiNole: FSU’s Digital Repository
Political and Business History of Florida
The political collections of FSU Special Collections & Archives include professional papers, personal correspondence, diaries, photographs, maps, artwork, and sound recordings documenting an extensive range of subject areas including regional and global politics, the American civil rights movement, prominent local civic action groups, and the gubernatorial papers of four Florida governors.
Personal and professional papers of Claude Denson Pepper (1900-1989), documenting his personal life and political career as a U.S. Senator (1936-1950) and U.S. Representative (1963-1989). Select materials from the Pepper Papers are digitized and available in DigiNole: FSU’s Digital Repository
The Records of the Tallahassee Chapter of the Florida National Organization for Women include official NOW correspondence, meeting minutes and agendas, reports, budgets, newsletters, and other records which chronicle the development and activities of Tallahassee NOW from its founding in 1971 until 1997. Select materials from this collection are digitized and available in DigiNole: FSU’s Digital Repository
Artists’ books are publications that have been conceived as artworks utilizing the form of the book. They are distinct from fine printed books or books displaying art, as book artists envision unprecedented possibilities for the artwork. FSU Special Collections & Archives holds a collection of over 250 artists' books spanning a diverse range of themes, bindings, structures, materials, and narrative styles. For more information about the artists' book collection in FSU Special Collections & Archives visit the Artists' Books Research Guide.
This collection of 20th and 21st century children’s literature contains over 1,500 titles, ranging from classic fairy-tales to contemporary pieces featuring modern art, all with a focus on visual literacy.
John MacKay Shaw (1897-1984) was a Scottish-born American businessman and philanthropist who collected works of British and American poetry related to the theme of childhood. His collection of over 5,000 first and rare editions of major poets, Victorian gift books, children’s periodicals, and reference works was donated to FSU Libraries and 1959 and has continued to grow, now encompassing over 25,000 volumes.
Personal and professional papers of Paul Dirac (1902-1984), documenting his personal life and academic career as a student, prominent theoretical physicist, Nobel Prize winner, Lucasian Professor of Mathematics chair at Cambridge University (1932-1969), and Professor at Florida State University (1972-1984). Select materials from this collection are digitized and available in DigiNole: FSU’s Digital Repository.