Special Collections evolved from a small collection of rare books housed in the library director’s office to a closed shelf collection administered by the Language/Literature Library and ultimately to a separately administered division of the University Libraries.
The book collections make up the majority of the holdings of Special Collections, totaling nearly 95,000 volumes/items. The collections are diverse and range from a substantial Rare Book Collection with material dating to the eighth century to a Comic Art Collection focused on underground comics and reprints of classic comic strips.
The book collections include books, periodicals, manuscript materials, and other printed materials in addition to many uncatalogued items and archival materials. Please inquire with the staff of Special Collections about the contents and accessibility of collections that do not have online inventories.
The MU Libraries have one of the largest collections of microforms in North America. All microforms in Ellis Library except United States government documents, United Nations documents, ERIC documents, college catalogs, and telephone directories are centralized in the Special Collections. Specific collections and guides are listed in the right column.
University of Missouri-Columbia collections are small, but have research potential in specific types of illustrated books, in printing and the book arts, seventeenth and eighteenth century British religious thought, Plato and the Neo-Plationists, English book hands of the eighth to the twelfth century and University of Missouri-Columbia history.