Special Collections

Special Collections is open by appointment only. For detailed information, please go to Visiting Special Collections.

In order to practice recommended social distancing guidelines, staff and faculty are working staggered schedules on site and telecommuting. As recommended by the IMLS, we are quarantining materials after each use. Therefore, our response time to your inquiries may be slower than customary. We appreciate your patience as we try to balance the needs of our researchers with the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff.

Due to the changing situation regarding the COVID 19 pandemic, please be aware that policies may change with little advance notice.

Important Information

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.