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Rare Books Digital Exhibit — A History of Special Collections

The Rare Books Department and Special Collections welcomes U back to school with our latest digital exhibition, A History of Special Collections

A New Family Encylopedia
Charles A. Goodrich (1790-1862)
T. Belknap, 1834
AG5 G6 1834

From the John R. Park Library Collection.

Co-curated by Lyuba Basin and Rachel Ernst, this digital exhibition explores the history of Special Collections at the J. Willard Marriott Library. From its early antecedents in the Utah Room to its present-day iteration, we trace the growth of the department and its collection, and highlight the staff and faculty who were instrumental in the development of Special Collections over time.

Ethiopian Codex
11th – 19th century
PJ2197 H36

From the Rare Books Collection.

As library spaces and collection development policies evolved, so too did the Special Collections Division. This evolution is a testament to the commitment of the Marriott Library to building a collection that reflects the unique history and multiple identities of the state and region, as well as the research and teaching interests of the University of Utah’s scholars and faculty members.

NASA Apollo Spacecraft Model
James Chipman Fletcher papers, 1933-1992
MS 0202 Bx 241

From the Manuscripts Collection.

A critical part of the Marriott Library’s research services, Special Collections has grown from a small, locally focused collection to an internationally recognized collection and an authority on the history of the Intermountain West. Using materials in Special Collection’s own holdings, this digital exhibition tells a story of dedication, scholarship, and a commitment to research and access that continues today.

Miscellaneous tapes, logs from KUTV
KUTV News Collection, 1977-1979

From the Multimedia Collection.

For the curators, archivists, and librarians working in Special Collections Divisions across the country, maintaining a historical record through the collection of manuscripts, multimedia, and printed forms is not only important to their work, but also necessary to their institutions. Despite this, we are often unaware of the need to consistently maintain our own records for future use and reference. Pandemic-era changes provided a unique opportunity for reflection on the importance of departmental history. This digital exhibition also considers the positive benefits of “archiving the archives” — a way in which we can build morale and momentum, preserve the legacy of our institutions, and encourage the attention and engagement of both Library and University community members.

Utonian University Yearbook
A. S. U. U.
Salt Lake City, UT: Associated Students University of Utah, 1906 –
LD5538 U8

From the Print and Journal Collection.

All these materials (and more!) can be viewed in the Special Collections Reading Room by appointment. To make appointment, schedule a class session, or learn more about our collections, visit our website:




1 Comment
  • Alexander Jolley
    Posted at 09:42h, 10 January Reply

    The best exhibition to date.

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