About Special Collections

Special Collections includes rare book collections, the Iowa Women’s Archives, the University Archives, the International Dada Archive, maps, and more.

Collecting areas include more than 200,000 rare books that range in age from the 15th century to newly created artists’ books, over 1100 manuscript collections, medieval to modern, over 8,000 feet of records document University history, and over 20,000 cookbooks from 1499-present. Special Collections has exceptional literary collections of writers from Walt Whitman to Iris Murdoch, as well as historical collections that document the French Revolution, railroads, and the Civil War. Twentieth century collections include topics such as science fiction, Chautauqua and vaudeville performers, political cartooning, and screenwriting. Tens of thousands of pamphlets, photographs, posters, sound recordings, and oral histories will add primary sources to your research.

Stop by the reading room or email your questions to our department to get started.

Special Collections News

  • Upcoming October Events

    Handy Books exhibit reception. Friday, October 6th, 12-1pm Special Collections Reading Room     Saving Brinton, The documentary was extended at Film Scene in Iowa City and has additional showings […]

  • Special Collections September Update

      Newsfeed: Tim Shipe has published an article on the Dada Archive in Romania’s leading art magazine, Revista ARTA. Entitled “Serving Dada Scholarship: The International Dada Archive at the University […]

  • “Saving Brinton” Documentary Premieres at Film Scene on Friday, 9/29

    Frank and Indiana Brinton from Washington, Iowa toured the Midwest starting in the late 1890s putting on shows with motion pictures. More than 30 years ago, Washington, Iowa history teacher […]

  • “Handy Books” Exhibit Comes to Special Collections September 15th

    Sunday, August 20, 2017 – 8:00am to Friday, September 15, 2017 – 5:00pm Friday, September 15, 2017 – 8:00am to Wednesday, November 1, 2017 – 5:00pm UI Special Collections, 3rd Floor Main Library An […]

  • Big Events from Summer 2017 in Special Collections

    BIG EVENTS FROM SUMMER 2017:   UI Libraries Hosted the Rare Books and Manuscripts Conference The University of Iowa Libraries hosted the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the American […]

  • Breaking News, Brokaw Collection in Process

    By Elizabeth Riordan, Graduate Assistant Last fall, Special Collections became the new home for the Tom Brokaw papers, a collection that covers the life and career of a man who […]

  • 40 Years of Work: Peter and Donna Thomas

    The University of Iowa Special Collections is home to the archives of Peter and Donna Thomas, a selection of which is on display on the Special Collections gallery on the […]

  • Dada/Surrealism Issue 21 is Now Online

    by Tim Shipe The International Dada Archive is pleased to announce the publication of issue number 21 of Dada/Surrealism: http://ir.uiowa.edu/dadasur/ The theme of the issue is Exhibiting Dada and Surrealism,  guest edited by Professor […]