Special Collections, part of the University Libraries, collects and preserves rare materials, including books, manuscripts, photographs, and artifacts. The Department is made up of seven meta-collections: Rare Books, Manuscripts, the University Archives, and the four Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine collections. 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. 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 Book Collection

Collections of print material acquired by a single collector, named by or for the collector. Collections span the 15th to 21st centuries, but most collections date from the 19th through 21st centuries.

Manuscript Collection

Contains the papers of individuals, such as students, professors, presidents, and archives of organizations, such as the archives of the University of Southern Maine’s (USM) predecessors (Gorham Academy, Gorham Campus Collection, Portland University, University of Maine Portland, Portland Junior College). There are also collections of photographs, printed material, and other material culture about USM and collections supporting the curriculum. The collections date from the 19th century to the present.

University Archives

These are the records produced by the University. The Archives is arranged according to the hierarchal structure of the University.

  • Record Group (Colleges, Administrative Units)
  • Subgroups (Academic Departments, Offices)
  • Series (record types, genres, i.e., correspondence, reports)

The Archives is divided into two groups:

  • 1970—June 30, 2011 (RG). This group also includes the records of University of Maine, Portland-Gorham.
  • Post-July 1, 2011 (RG2011)

The Archives consists of unit level records documenting administration and unit activities (programming, publications) and do not include personnel records which are maintained by Human Resources. The Archives includes paper, printed, audio, visual, audio-visual materials. Major University publications are cataloged, particularly serials and sets, such as yearbooks and catalogs (See Archives Print Collection).

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, part of the Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine, consists of collections of personal papers and archives of organizations who worked for civil rights and diversity in Maine. It includes the papers of Jean Byers Sampson, for whom the Center was named. It also contains a print collection, primarily of publications by the Sampson Center. The collection focuses on historical sources, excluding creative works of fiction or art, unless such works document civil rights and diversity in Maine. Most of the material dates from the 21st century to the present.

African American Collection

This collection, part of the Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine, consists of collections of personal papers and archives of organizations active in the African American community of Maine. The bulk of the manuscript collection dates from the 20th century to the present, but a few collections contain items from the 19th century. There are also rare or unique print materials about the community (all 20th century or later) and the book collection of Gerald E. Talbot. The collection focuses on historical sources, excluding creative works of fiction or art, unless such works document the community.

Judaica Collection

This collection, part of the Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine, consists of collections of personal papers and archives of organizations active in the Jewish community of Maine. The bulk of the manuscript collections date from the 20th century or later, but there is one item from the 17th century. There are also rare or unique print materials about the community (all 20th century or later). The collection focuses on historical sources, excluding creative works of fiction or art, unless such works document the community.

LGBTQ+ Collection

This collection, part of the Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine, consists of collections of personal papers and archives of organizations active in the LGBTQ+ communities of Maine. The manuscript collections date from the 1970s to the present. There are also rare or unique print materials about the community (all 1970s or later), including a unique series of 42 newspapers by community groups around the state. The collection focuses on historical sources, excluding creative works of fiction or art, unless such works document the community.

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 Collection

General Manuscript Collection

Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine

University Archives

Events and Publications

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