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Rare Artifacts Housed in Library’s Special Collections

By Alexander Espinosa & Dylan Valic

Staff Writer, Features Editor

The archives and special collections department houses a large variety of rare and historical collections. Students can visit the second floor of the B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library to use these resources to help with assignments or pursue knowledge in fields of their interest.

Jarron L. Jewell, the acting director for archives and special collections, can tell students about everything the department has to offer. “Archive in the special collections is what I think of as a high research area. It’s a place where students, academics, and researchers come to look for original research material and particular materials we have in the collections here,” she said.

Jarron L. Jewell, acting director

One of the many collections available is the Theodore Roosevelt Association Collection. According to the archives and special collections department’s web page, this collection contains more than “3,000 books, pamphlets, documents, and archives concerning the life, times, and interests of our 26th President.” This collection was donated to LIU in 1974 by the Theodore Roosevelt Association. Many of this collection’s content comes straight from President Roosevelt’s Manhattan home.

The American Juvenile Collection is another collection that may be of interest to students. “We have 12,000 first edition children’s books in fiction, folklore, fairy tail, and poetry, and they were all published in the United States,” Jewell said. “This is a great research collection for what went on between 1910 and 1999 in the United States in the minds of the children.”

The American Juvenile Collection has also been used for community outreach. “We’ve had children from Norwood Elementary School come and enjoy the collection,” Jewell said.

An extremely rare item that may be of interest to many students is the exact color copy edition of The Book of Kells. The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript mainly containing the four gospels, as well as other historical documents. According to the Archives and Special Collections Department’s web page, only 1,480 copies of this edition exist. This edition was recreated to be as close to the original as possible, allowing for readers to appreciate the fine details in the writing and artwork.

Pages of an old book found in the archives and special collections department

Books and documents are just part of all the special collections department houses. They also have a collection of over 6,000 original movie posters. These posters advertise different films from 1940 to 1962. This collection is a perfect way for students to study the changing landscape of American culture during World War II and the Cold War. Several posters are also displayed outside the special collections department room for visitors to enjoy, and new posters are displayed monthly.

The archives and special collections department differs from other departments in the library since items can not be taken out by guests. All research must be done within the “Rare Book Room.” Guests are also encouraged to check the archives and special collections section of the campus library website. The website features lists of many of the works available in the collections, and also features digital versions of certain items that can be viewed from home.

Anyone interested in using the archives and special collections departments services can call 516-299-2880 or email to set up an appointment.

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