Special Collections

Special Collections acquires, arranges, preserves, and promotes the use of rare and unique materials that support the information, instruction, and research needs of the University of Tennessee community. Special Collections seeks to create and provide broad access to local collections for scholars in regional, national, and international communities, as well as the general public.  Collection development priorities continually evolve to support changing academic needs and advance the mission and goals of the University of Tennessee. Acquisition efforts are focused on topics of global interest with regional significance. The library builds collections that document the region’s heritage with a renewed emphasis on those areas that may have been traditionally overlooked.

Founded in 1959, Special Collections at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville began in one room of the James D. Hoskins Library with a core collection of early British, European, and American books. During the 1960s, the library expanded with two building additions and the acquisition of the University Archives. In 2009, Special Collections relocated to the John C. Hodges Library. Soon after, in 2011, the Modern Political Archives officially became part of Special Collections, and in 2012, the Great Smoky Mountain Project moved to the department. Most recently, Special Collections underwent a renovation of its reading room including the addition of an instruction classroom and exhibition space in the library galleria. Newly renamed the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, the repository includes rare books, manuscripts, University Archives, and the Modern Political Archives.

Features regarding new collections and programming are available at https://volumes.lib.utk.edu/category/special-collections/

Digital collections can be found at http://digital.lib.utk.edu/.

Requests to scan materials may be available at: https://www.lib.utk.edu/reproductions/request/

Access to subject-specific research guides are available at http://libguides.utk.edu/.

Many materials can be located through the library catalog. Finding aids containing descriptions of manuscripts and University Archives collections are available. Many primary documents in Special Collections have been digitized and can be read on-line. Finding aids and digitized items are available through SCOUT (Special Collections Online at UT) at: https://scout.lib.utk.edu/

Manuscript collections and University Archives materials are stored offsite and must be requested 2 full business days before you plan to visit the reading room. 

Rare books and university archives books are located in Special Collections.  University    of Tennessee theses and dissertations are stored off-site. Materials do not circulate and      may only be viewed in the Special Collections reading room during open hours.

Please go to visiting special collections for detailed information regarding reading room policies and procedures.

For additional assistance, contact special@utk.edu.