The book collections make up the majority of the holdings of Special Collections, totaling nearly 75,000 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.
In order to use most print materials, patrons must come to the Special Collections Reading Room (room 401) during regular operating hours, and staff will retrieve materials from storage. Patrons will need to know the name of the collection and the call number in order to request materials in Special Collections. Patrons may also need to show a photo identification card, which may be either an MU ID card or another official identification card such as a driver's license. Of the collections listed on this site, only some of the Closed and Comic collections may circulate, subject to the discretion of the Special Collections staff. For more information on using the book collections, please see Book Use Policies.
Published guides to the collections are available for use within the Special Collections Reading Room. Most of these guides have been digitized and are also available in electronic format on the Guides and Indexes page.