Special Collections, part of the University Libraries, collects and preserves rare materials, including books, manuscripts, photographs, and artifacts. The Department is made up of three meta-collections: General Rare Books and Manuscripts, the University Archives, and the Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine. Special Collections supports the academic mission of the University by inviting classes to use its collections in hands-on exercises where students learn research skills.

For more information on Special Collections at the University of Southern Maine, please visit our website.

Search all processed manuscript collections by viewing our Finding Aids.

Click on the following headings for more information, and to view available digitized items from each collection. Please note that in many cases, digitization is ongoing.

Rare Books
These are collections of printed material, mostly books, collected by an individual and donated to Special Collections. Each collection is named after the donor. The General Book Collection consists of books from the libraries of the USM’s predecessors as well as books Special Collections has collected since the 1970s.

General Manuscript Collection
This collection contains the records of groups, such as the Maine State Nurses Association, and material created or gathered by individuals. Records produced by groups are known as “Archives” and material produced by an individual are called “Papers.” These archives or papers are created by groups or individuals associated with USM or the material that supports the academic mission of the University.

Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine
The University of Southern Maine’s Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine collects and makes accessible material documenting the ongoing histories of diverse communities. Current collections represent the African American, Jewish, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer+ communities, and social justice for all. The Center promotes diversity and civil rights through research, education, and outreach.

General Collection, Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine
This collection consists of the records of groups and material gathered or created by individuals who have worked for social justice and civil rights in Maine.

African American Collection
This collection preserves the history of the African American communities in Maine by collecting material produced or collected by organizations and individuals. The collection was created when Gerald E. Talbot donated his papers and material

Judaica Collection
This collection preserves the history of the Jewish communities in Maine by collecting material produced or collected by organizations and individuals. The collection includes material from youth groups, such as Macabee Club, a Jewish high school group in Portland.

LGBTQ+ Collection
This collection preserves the history of the LGBTQ+ communities in Maine by collecting material produced by organizations and individuals. This collection also contains a book collection, is rich in both archival and personal papers, and contains a collection of photographs documenting the LGBTQ+ activism in the 1990s.

University Archives
These are the records produced by the University in its daily operations. Records include office paperwork, photographs, course catalogs, printed reports, musical programs, sports trophies, and many other items. This material is organized by the department that produced it and the overall arrangement of the Archives reflects the administrative structure of the University.

Events
View a wide array of recorded events and programs presented by the USM Special Collections.

Publications
View publications produced by USM Special Collections.

Creative Commons License
All works in these collections are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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Rare Book

General Manuscript Collection

Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine

University Archives

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