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Special Collections at the University of Southern Mississippi
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Our Collections

The Special Collections held in the McCain Library & Archives offer patrons an exciting variety of historical resources ranging from fifteenth-century illuminated manuscripts to current Mississippiana and from the Civil War to the civil rights movement.

The Special Collections are home to one of the leading children's literature collections in the United States, the de Grummond Collection. It also houses significant manuscript collections, including those of Theodore G. Bilbo, William M. Colmer, and Paul B. Johnson. Special Collections' comprehensive collection of Mississippi-related books and periodicals is a vital resource for the study of the state's history and culture.

In addition, there is a growing collection of resources related to race relations in Mississippi, including State Sovereignty Commission records, Freedom Summer photographs, and oral histories. These resources, and all of Special Collections, are available for use by the public at the Cleanth Brooks Reading Room in McCain Library & Archives.

de Grummond Children's Literature Collection

The de Grummond Children's Literature Collection, one of the leading research centers of its type, contains manuscripts, illustrations, and over 170,000 published works associated predominantly with American and British children's literature.

Digital Collections

The Special Collections Digital Lab creates research quality digital collections of texts, images, and audio materials and makes these collections available to scholars throughout the world. These digital collections will eventually represent the entire range of Special Collections materials: historical manuscripts and photographs, children's literature, Mississippiana, rare books, oral histories, and editorial cartoons. To search the digital collections, click here.

Historical Manuscripts

Our Historical Manuscripts Collection provides primary research material on Mississippi's history and culture from the early days of the Mississippi Territory to the present. Personal and family collections typically consist of letters, diaries, scrapbooks, school and military service records, certificates of achievement, photographs, and newspaper clippings. Business, church, and organizational records frequently contain ledgers, minutes of meetings, anniversary materials, photographs, scrapbooks, and newspaper clippings. Holdings are particularly strong in Mississippi politics, the timber and railroad industries, and the civil rights movement.  For more information on these materials, click here.

University Archives

The University Archives serves as the institutional memory of the multiple campuses of the University of Southern Mississippi by collecting, organizing, and preserving official records, photographs, and other materials that document the University's history. For more information on these materials, click here.


Genealogy materials related to Mississippi are available for patron use in the Cleanth Brooks Reading Room. Other books that may be helpful with genealogy research are found in the closed stacks. These books may be located by using the online catalog, or by contacting the reference librarian. In addition to books, genealogy vertical files which includes family trees, clippings, histories of names/locations, and other materials are available for researchers. These files are organized by surname and include information about the surname on local, national, and international levels. All genealogy information not relating to Mississippi is located in Cook Library.

For more information on conducting Genealogy research at the USM Libraries, click here: How do I find genealogy resources?


The Mississippiana Collection is a comprehensive collection of books, maps, vertical files, state documents, and other materials associated with Mississippi history, culture, and government.  For more information on these materials, click here.

Walen Civil War

Ernest A. Walen was a businessman from Gloucester, Massachusetts, who began collecting materials on the Confederacy and the South in the 1940s. In 1958, he began corresponding with Dr. William D. McCain concerning membership in the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and that same year, he became an honorary member of Camp 584 in Jackson, Mississippi. Mr. Walen's collection, which was willed at his death to the University of Southern Mississippi, was received in October 1969. The Walen Collection contains books, pamphlets, newspapers, journals, maps, regimental histories, and Confederate imprints which document the history of such topics as the South, the Confederate States of America, slavery, Abraham Lincoln, and the Civil War in general. The collection consists of more than 5,000 volumes, including more than 600 Confederate imprints.

For a complete list of books in the Walen Collection, click here

Woods Rare Books

The Sam Woods Rare Books Collection consists largely of books published before 1800, with principal concentration in religion, philosophy, classics, geography, and history. The collection also includes works of art, artifacts, and a variety of illuminated manuscripts and vellum documents. Highlights of the collection include a 1731 Hollman Atlas, a 15th century Spanish Antiphonal, and a rare copy of John Calvin's Commentaries on St. Paul's Letters from 1551.

For a complete list of books in the Sam Woods Rare Book Collection, click here.