In Special Collections at Southwestern University, we create physical and virtual spaces to experience the history of Southwestern University and Texas as well as the heritage of the printed and written word. We aim to use these spaces and our collections to create meaningful experiences for anyone, regardless of purpose.
As of May 2019, we hold over 19,000 rare books and over 1,500 linear feet of manuscripts - making us the largest special collection of schools our size in the country.
We have two full time staff members, Megan and Anne, in addition to three or four student workers, depending on the availability of hours.
The reading room is open to the public from 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM and 1:30 PM - 4:30 PM Monday through Friday.
We are also open by appointment earlier if a patron requires. Special Collections is staffed Monday through Friday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM.
Special Collections began in 1939 as a locked area in the then-new Cody Memorial Library. The acquisition of rare Texas and Methodist related materials precluded the beginning of the department. During the 1966 renovation of the library, the collections were large enough to warrant an entire secure room in the new building. When the current library building was built in 1992, the collections were large enough that they required a large reading room for patrons, and several floors for storage, processing, and conservation of the materials in the collection.