Southwestern University

Special Collections

Southwestern University is home to a phenomenal archive of historical records, documents, rare books, manuscripts and other fascinating materials.


Megan Firestone

Head of Special Collections and Archives



Megan Firestone

Head of Special Collections and Archives

Special Collections
Special Collections (Credit: Southwestern University)

Our Special Collections is housed on the second floor of the The A. Frank Smith, Jr. Library, and students, faculty, staff, alumni and the general public are encouraged to visit and utilize the resources. Although the materials may not be checked out, they are available for research and learning opportunities. We have a museum-like collection, but unlike a traditional museum we encourage users to engage with our materials. You can hold a rare book, read a historic manuscript or examine a piece of Texas history.

Our Collections

Southwestern Special Collections includes over 20,000 rare books and 1,300 linear feet of manuscript. Some of the main areas of materials include:

  • Texana - Books or materials about Texas history, or other Texas-related subjects
  • John Tower - Senator Tower’s personal and Senate papers are held in Special Collections
  • Frank Dobie - Manuscripts and printed items by SU alumnus J. Frank Dobie
  • Items requested or specifically used to support the classes/studies of current students
  • Fine Press Books - Handmade books, including books from the Arion Press, Russell Maret, and Two Ponds Press.
  • Southwestern History - History of Southwestern’s root colleges
  • Carl Hertzog - Books, posters, and promotional items created by Texas printer Carl Hertzog.

The oldest item in Special Collections is a cuneiform tablet from approximately 2000 BCE.

Southwestern students and faculty greatly benefit from having access to these archives. They are often used for research in classes, and we encourage students to take advantage of our staff and resources.