The collections offer a variety of historical resources ranging from fifteenth-century illuminated manuscripts to Civil War letters, Civil Rights documents and current Mississippiana. The University of Southern Mississippi’s Special Collections are located in the William David McCain building, erected in 1976. Nearly 24,000 square feet are dedicated to Special Collections, comprised of four units: University Archives; Rare Books and Mississippiana; Historical Manuscripts; and the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection.
Today the University Archives oversees the campus-wide records management program as well as maintaining archival records of USM dating from its founding. The University Archives also maintains oral histories conducted by USM’s Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage.
Rare book and Mississippiana holdings are comprised of nearly 38,000 titles covering the history and culture of Mississippi, as well as books relating to the Civil War, southern history, and literature.
Historical Manuscripts consists of 7,500 cubic feet comprising approximately 800 archival collections that focus upon the Civil War, political papers, Mississippi industries, local organizations, military history and civil rights among other topics.
The de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection was founded in 1966 through the efforts of USM School of Library Science faculty professor, Lena de Grummond. The Collection, which focuses on American and British children’s literature, now houses manuscripts and works from more than 1,300 authors and illustrators, as well as 180,000+ published books dating from 1530 to the present. The de Grummond Collection also administers the Ezra Jack Keats award in conjunction with the Keats Foundation and co-sponsors the annual national Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival with USM’s School of Library and Information Science.
For highlights of Special Collections, see our Item of the Month.
The Joseph Anderson Cook Library contains the principle holdings of books, journals, microforms, music, media, and other materials, which support the research and instructional programs of the University. Cook Library has five floors of book stacks, study areas, computers, and access is provided to over five million books and microforms and over 150,000 journals. Library services, such as circulation, interlibrary loan, and research assistance, are available on the first floor, with the collections housed on all five floors.
You can learn more about our history here.