September 29, 2010

Morris’ special collections center open Saturdays

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Morris Library’s Special Collections Research Center on the campus of Southern Illinois University Carbondale is now open on Saturdays, making its collections more accessible than ever before.

The Special Collections Research Center is now open from noon to 4 p.m. each Saturday as well as from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, when school is in session.

“This is new to us -- we’ve never done it before,” said Pamela Hackbart-Dean, director of the Special Collections Research Center. She said they conducted the “Archival Metrics” researcher survey and it revealed that SIUC library patrons wanted additional hours to access special collections so, thanks to a pilot project this year, they’ll get those hours.

“I believe we will find that our Saturday hours will be really well-used during the school year, particularly by our students at SIUC as well as by history fair students and other non-traditional researchers,” Hackbart-Dean said.

The SCRC holds an extensive collection of rare books, manuscripts, archives and photographs encompassing all of the SIUC areas of curriculum and research. Visitors can find Irish literature, 20th century American philosophy, materials regarding freedom of the press and censorship, the American theater, and expatriate American and British writings.

The collection also highlights the region, with local records and collections showcasing the social, political and cultural history of Southern Illinois and beyond to encompass the middle Mississippi Valley and Midwest. In addition, the SCRC is home to the University Archives that include nearly 150 years of the official records, publications and papers of faculty and from student organizations.

Recently catalogued are literary items of interest from writers D.H. Lawrence, Ernest Hemingway, Henry Miller and others. See a typescript of Ernest Hemingway’s 1932 short story “After the Sun” covered with his handwritten revisions. Read the letters of D.H. Lawrence to friends during World War I as he complains of harassment by authorities. Study Henry Miller’s “The Heaven Beyond Heaven,” a unique handwritten letter to Anais Nin, filled with drawings and watercolor paintings he created from 1939 to 1940 traveling in pre-World War II Greece.

Find out more about the SCRS at Morris Library by visiting the website

Hackbart-Dean said she encourages researchers who are interested in using original historical records or rare books at SCRC on Saturday afternoons to contact the SCRC staff ahead of time by telephone at 618/453-2516 or by e-mailing to assure easier access. The continuation of Saturday hours in future semesters will be contingent upon patron use, she said.