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Collection Development: Special Collections

The purpose of the library's Special Collections Department is to acquire and make available materials related to Maine. The Department collects virtually all available printed bibliographical, historical, and descriptive works on the state as well as literary titles by Maine authors. The collections of published items including books, pamphlets, state documents, and some non-print materials, provide extensive coverage of Maine's cities, towns, counties, and her people and institutions. These printed resources are complemented by a substantial body of original source materials included in the Department's manuscript collection.

State of Maine Collection

  • Early Maine Imprints (Pre-1820)

    The library has a number of early Maine imprints that are primarily religious in nature. As there has been little use of these in the past, no sermons are purchased. However, they are accepted as gifts. Other pre-1820 imprints of a non-religious nature are purchased as they are offered by dealers.

  • Non-Fiction

    The Special Collections Department acquires one copy of all books in Maine-related subjects.

  • Fiction

    In an effort to build a comprehensive collection, the definitions of Maine authors and Maine books are drawn very broadly. Maine authors are defined as:

    1. Those born in the state no matter how long they may have lived here;

    2. Those born elsewhere who lived some part of their life in the state;

    3. Residents of other places who regularly summered in Maine.

    The Department has developed a list of authors fitting these criteria. This Maine author list is continually updated through examination of Maine periodicals and national biographical works. Once new authors are identified, their works are purchases retrospectively.

    Fiction books with Maine settings or with story lines taking place entirely or substantially within the state are also included in the collection.

  • Other Maine Printed Material

    The following materials are also included in the library's Special Collections:

    • Books by Maine authors for children;

    • Books printed in Maine but not related to Maine by subject or author bought together to show the history of publishing within the state;

    • Annual reports of businesses located in or having subsidiaries in Maine;

    • Newspapers published in Maine in paper and/or microform;

    • Periodicals with Maine imprint and subject;

    • Maps related to Maine;

    • Reports of school administrative districts;

    • City record books.
    Town reports? Pamphlets?

  • Maine State Documents

    The Special Collections Department houses a comprehensive collection of documents issued by the State of Maine. Documents are acquired through the State documents depository system, and commercial vendors and as gifts.

  • Clinton L. Cole Maritime History Collection

    This is the library's largest "named" collection. Clinton Cole donated the original 600 volume maritime library in 1936. Originally it had a worldwide scope but currently only books on seamanship, construction, and the North Atlantic/New England area are purchased.

  • Rare Books

    The books in this collection meet one of the following criteria:

    1. Published in Western Hemisphere before 1830;

    2. Published outside Western Hemisphere before 1800;

    3. Editions published before 1900 limited to 200 copies or less;

    4. Editions published after 1900 limited to 100 copies or less.

    No books are routinely purchased in the rare book market. Books acquired through donation or through purchase as part of a collection needing special handling may be put into the Rare Book Collection.

  • Ezekial Holmes Collection

    The Holmes library was the original University collection. These books are integrated with other rare books.

  • The Ronald B. Levinson Collection

    This 2,000 volume collection was a gift of Professor Emeritus and Mrs. Ronald B. Levinson. It is a collection of Western European imprints in the subject of philosophy. Most of the materials are now located the circulating collection. No additions are anticipated.

  • The O’Brien Collection of American Negro History and Culture

    This collection consists of 1,600 items. Most of the materials are in the circulating collection, unless designated as rare books. No additions are anticipated.

  • The Dime Novels Collection

    This collection was a gift of the Charles Burton Hamilton Estate. No additions are anticipated.

Other Printed Collections

University Collection

The Department houses the University Archives. Included are non-current records of historical, administrative, or legal value, publications of the administration, academic departments, and faculty members.

Dissertations and Theses

Special Collections acquires one copy of each doctoral dissertation and masters thesis written at the University of Maine. The department also purchases a film or fiche copy of most dissertations written about Maine. Masters theses on Maine-related subjects are acquired selectively.

Manuscript Collections

Acquiring, preserving, processing and making accessible collections of archival records and personal papers is expensive and labor-intensive. Consequently, active collecting of these materials is confined to areas that support instruction and research in the academic disciplines at the University of Maine. Subject areas actively collected, along with the disciplines they support, are as follows:

  1. Environmental History: includes record of land-use by large land owners (e.g. railroads; utilities; and timber companies); records of tourism; farming; fisheries; mining; and other environment-centered industries; records of environmental organizations; papers of political figures involved in environmental issues; and data from environmental research at the University of Maine and other research institutions in the state.

    Supports the following disciplines: Anthropology; Business; Economics; History; Historical Archaeology; Political Science; Ecology and Environmental Science; Forest Resources and Forest Ecosystem Studies; Geological Sciences; Maine Studies; Marine Biology; Marine Bio-Resources; Wildlife Ecology; Oceanography; Climate Studies; Sustainable Agriculture; Resource Economics and Policy; Pulp and Paper Technology; Parks; Recreation and Tourism.

  2. The Maine Art and Literary Scene: The primary focus is on personal papers and
    institutional records that provide broad documentation on the creative arts in
    Maine, rather than just on an individual author or artist.

    Supports the following disciplines: English, History, Art and Art/History,
    Maine Studies, Franco-American Studies, Modern Language and Classics,

  3. Gender Studies: includes personal papers of women who are among the first of
    their gender in a profession in Maine; records of professional organizations in
    female-dominated professions; selected papers (especially diaries) that document
    the lives of women and men who did not have a prominent role in the public
    sphere; and records of male-only and female-only organizations.

    Supports the following disciplines: Anthropology, History, English, Maine
    Studies, Women’s Studies, Nursing.

  4. Minority Cultures in Maine: includes personal papers of community leaders,
    records of community organizations, and records of businesses that were owned
    by and/or catered to minority communities and which provide significant
    documentation of those communities.

    Supports the following disciplines: Anthropology, History, Franco-
    American Studies, Native American Studies, Black Studies, Maine Studies,
    Religious Studies, Modern Languages and Classics.

  5. History of Education in Maine: includes selected personal papers of educators,
    records of professional organizations, records of regional or district school
    administration, and the archives of the University of Maine.

    Supports the following disciplines: Education, History, Maine Studies,
    Political Science.

  6. Politics in Maine: includes records of political organizations, especially those
    concerned with land-use or environmental issues, and the papers of political
    figures who exemplify the political scene in Maine or whose papers provide
    documentation for one of the five areas listed above (e.g., Papers of William
    Cohen and Harriet Henry). Generally, we will not collect political papers that are
    primarily about local politics.

    Supports the following disciplines: History, Political Science, Maine

  7. Labor History in Maine: Includes papers of labor leaders and organizers,
    records of unions, and of professional organizations.

    Supports the following disciplines: Labor Education, History, Maine
    Studies, Business, Political Science.

Contact Us  | Revised: 04/03/2015

Created by: Deborah Rollins | Revised: 04/03/2015
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University of Maine
Orono, ME 04469-5729
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The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469