History Collection

I. Collection Description


To support instruction and research in every field and period of history, and for related fields.

History of Collection:

Works by historians and on historical subjects have been part of the University Library from its origin. During the hundred or so years of the University's history, the collections have grown in size, scope and complexity, with books and periodicals augmented by a multitude of special collections, and in the full range of available formats. There has always been a fund for the purchase of historical materials whether it was the $300 allocated annually in the early days of this century or the tens or hundreds of thousands expended from a host of funds in the more recent decades.The History and Political Science Library was organized in 1911 as one of the six departmental libraries occupying the east front of Lincoln Hall. In 1928, it was moved to its present location in the Library building. In the early 1960s, the responsibility for collecting in political science was transferred to the newly organized Education and Social Science Library, and Philosophy was moved from Education to the History Library. In 1954, the Lincoln Room was established in a room inside the History and Philosophy Library.

Estimate of Holdings:

1,000,000 volumes.

State, Regional and National Importance:

Because of their magnitude, if for no other reason, the history collections of the University Library are a major national resource. This is especially so in areas such as Italian history, British history, Slavic and East European history, and American history after the colonial period. In addition, the collections are unusually rich in the history of the Old Northwest and of Illinois and her favorite son, Abraham Lincoln.

Unit Responsible for Collecting:

The History and Philosophy Library has primary responsibility in virtually all fields and periods for titles published in Western languages. Many other units participate to one degree or another in the acquisition of materials for the history collections.

Location of Materials:

Historical materials are to be found in virtually every departmental library in the University Library system, ranging from the history of a particular discipline to more general historical topics intended for general reference. The History and Philosophy Library contains approximately 17,000 volumes of historical works. This collection is intended to provide general reference and a selection of works representing different fields, periods, and styles and methodologies of historical research and writing. The History and Philosophy Library also maintains a large collection of current issues of major journals, some 400 titles. A large collection is housed in the Undergraduate Library. The Reference Room is the center for collecting major works of reference. Illinois state and local history is to be found primarily in the Illinois Historical Survey. The Bookstacks contain about 850,000 volumes of historical works.

Citations of Works Describing the Collection:

Downs, p. 356.

Version Date: November 2005