University of Vermont

Special Collections Celebrates 50 Years

Join the celebration at an open house on Tuesday, Feb. 28 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Special Collections reading room in Bailey/Howe Library. A reception with refreshments begins at 4. At 4:30, four Special Collections librarians will give fast-paced, Pecha Kucha-style presentations about the University Archives, Vermontiana and Rare Books collections. A variety of items from the collections will be on display.

The Special Collections Department was unveiled in the spring of 1962 under the direction of its first head librarian, John L. Buechler. Special Collections brought together Vermont research materials, formerly housed in the Fleming Museum’s Wilbur Room, and rare book collections, formerly housed in the Billings Library. For the first time, these materials — and the specialized attention they required — were combined in one department with a special educational and research mission.

Five decades have brought tremendous growth in the department’s collections and services. Gifts, purchases and transfers from the general library collection have more than doubled the Rare Book collection, while historical manuscript materials expanded from a few hundred linear shelf-feet in 1962 to more than 9,000 in 2012. Special Collections has become a vital teaching resource in a variety of disciplines, and the leading library for Vermont research.  Librarians in Special Collections are dedicated to serving the university community as well as users around Vermont and the world.

The event is open to the public. Information: 656-2138,