About the Collections


American Library Association Archives Digital Collections

This digitization project contains digitized photographs from the Faxon Collection from the Conference Photographs series (99/1/14) and the Library Building Photographs series (99/1/15), held at the University of Illinois Archives. Some photographs and postcards from the Library Building Photographs collection (Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, and California) have also been digitized. Collection size: approximately 250 items.

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Amos Kennedy Collection

The Amos Kennedy Collection contains digitized books, postcards, and posters from Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. - a letterpress printer, papermaker, book artist, and teacher. His strong graphics and bold typography passionately address issues of race, freedom, and equality. Collection size: 71 items.

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Carl Sandburg Collection

(Campus Use Only)

The more than 2,700 photographs in this collection are scanned from the Carl Sandburg Collection housed in The Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Spanning the years 1893-1987, these images are part of a collection that includes typescripts and galley proofs of many of Sandburg's works, his correspondence with literary and public figures, recordings and transcriptions of Sandburg's radio broadcasts, and a supporting book collection of approximately 5,000 volumes.

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Champaign-Urbana Historic Built Environment

The Champaign-Urbana Historic Built Environment offers a selection from the holdings of the Champaign County Historical Archives, which was established as a department of The Urbana Free Library in 1956. Among its holdings of books, manuscripts, and maps, the archives has preserved over 50,000 photographs of local people and locations. This collection provides a sampling of the rich visual history of Champaign-Urbana's historic built environment in the 19th and 20th century, including images of residential, commercial, governmental, educational, medical, and religious structures, and thus reflects the notion that historic buildings serve as an entryway into the community's collective memory.

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Chuck Olin Digital Film Archive

The Chuck Olin Digital Film Archive consists of production elements from two PBS-broadcast documentaries: "In Our Own Hands: The Hidden Story of the Jewish Brigade in World War II," and "Is Jerusalem Burning? Myth, Memory and the Battle of Latrun." Both films, relying primarily on first-person accounts, tell the story of critical episodes in the formation of the nation-state of Israel. The unedited versions of the first-person accounts contained in the collection offer the student or scholar a unique set of primary-source material. Collection size: 8 interviews.

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Collins Collection of Irish Political Cartoons

This is an online collection of political cartoons from the University of Illinois Library Collins collection of books, pamphlets, newspapers, maps and cartoons; it was purchased by the Library in 1917. The collection consists of cartoons drawn primarily from the Weekly Freeman and National Press and United Ireland newspapers. The cartoons address the subject of Irish politics of the late 1800s and early 1900s, and, in particular, Ireland's relationship with England. Collection size: approximately 75 cartoons.

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French World War I Posters

This collection is comprised of 105 digitized posters published in France during the First World War. The selected posters represent a time of national volatility and a visual culture of lithography, illustrations, earlier posters and paintings.

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Historical Maps Online

The Historical Maps Online collection contains images of maps charting the last 400 years of historical development in Illinois and the Northwest Territory, including historic topographic maps of Illinois. The collection also contains early large-scale topographic quadrangles published by the United States Geological Survey in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Collection size: approximately 420 maps.

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James Reston Papers

The collection consists of a variety of items that relate to James Reston's career with the Associated Press (1934-1939) and The New York Times (1939-1989). These items include publications, manuscripts, correspondence, speeches, interview transcripts, and photographs. Collection size: approximately 400 items.

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John Starr Stewart Ex Libris Collection

The John Starr Stewart Ex Libris Collection comprises some 1500 plates, each mounted on an individual card. Each card has a specially designed printed form mounted on the verso upon which Mr. Stewart inserted notes about the owner, designer, or subject of the plate. Besides bookplates, the collection contains book stamps and spine labels, especially from institutional libraries. The collection was made between 1903 and 1906 and is rich in contemporary bookplates, many in the art nouveau style, although older plates are also included. While mid-Western and other American plates predominate, a substantial number of English and continental plates are present.

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Maps of Africa to 1900

The Maps of Africa to 1900 digital collection contains images of maps listed in the bibliography Maps of Africa to 1900: A Checklist of Maps in Atlases and Geographical Journals in the Collections of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (Bassett & Scheven, Urbana: Graduate School of Library and Information Science, 2000). As such, this collection mines not only the Library's map collections, but also its extensive collection of 19th century atlases and geographical journals, including the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society (United Kingdom), the Bulletin de la Société de Géographie de Paris (France), and Petermanns Geographische Mittheilungen (Germany). Bassett's and Scheven's original bibliography lists 2,416 maps of which nearly 78 percent date from the 19th century. Africanists and historians of cartography are drawn to this century because the map of the continent changed so rapidly in the wake of European explorations, conquests, and colonization (Bassett & Scheven, p. iii). About a quarter of the collection dates from the sixteenth century, 9 percent from the seventeenth, and 13 percent from the eighteenth century. The Library is digitizing as many of the maps as possible, condition permitting. Maps are added to the collection as they are completed.

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Motley Collection of Theatre and Costume Design

The Motley Collection of Theatre and Costume Design is a valuable source of documentation on the history of theatre and is housed in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It is a rare collection of original materials on the theatre, comprising over 5000 items from more than 150 productions in England and the United States. These materials include costume and set designs, sketches, notes, photographs, prop lists, storyboards, and swatches of fabric. Collection size: approximately 4700 items.

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Paléographie des classiques latins

Émile Chatelain's Paléographie des classiques latins was produced in 14 fascicles between 1884 and 1900, and consists of more than 200 facsimiles of leaves from medieval manuscripts, with explanatory text. The leaves range in date from the fourth to the fifteenth century, and together demonstrate the range of scripts in which the main Latin classics were transmitted from antiquity to the modern world. More than thirty classical authors are represented in the collection, which has been an important paleographical reference work for more than a century. Collection size: approximately 305 items.

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Picture Chicago

Picture Chicago is a collection of images originally published in books about Chicago that were digitized by the University of Illinois' Urbana and Chicago campus libraries. Here you can see photographs of Chicago gangsters, politicians, and early famous Chicagoans; the first taxicab in the city; the early pneumatic tube system installed in the the Chicago Post Office; the devastating fire at the Iroquois Theater in 1904 that took the lives of hundreds of Chicagoans; Michigan Avenue before it was widened; stately North Shore residences; the draft plans to straighten the Chicago River; and much, much more! Within the description of each image you will find a link back to the original digitized text. Picture Chicago is a joint project of the libraries of the Urbana and Chicago campuses of the University of Illinois. Funding to support building this image collection was provided by a 2009 Collections Enhancement and Access Award from the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI).

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Portraits of Actors

Portraits of Actors, 1720-1920, includes almost 3,500 pictures of actors — studio portraits and actors posing in costume for a particular role or performing a scene from a play. Dramatists, theatrical managers, singers and musicians are also included, but the majority are British and American actors who worked between about 1770 and 1893. Among the hundreds of actors included are: Sarah Siddons, Edmund Kean, John Philip Kemble, Edwin Booth, Edwin Forrest, William Henry West Betty, Charles Mathews, Dorothy Jordan, Frances Abington, and Ada Rehan. The images were digitized from etchings, engravings, lithographs, mezzotints, aquatints, wood engravings, photographs, and photomechanically-reproduced prints, all from the University of Illinois Theatrical Print Collection.

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Sjoerd Koopman Library Postcard Collection

The Sjoerd Koopman Library Postcard Collection includes pictorial and photographic postcards of libraries throughout the United States and Europe. Subjects include public libraries, private libraries, academic libraries, library interiors, reading rooms, and bookmobiles. Collection size: approximately 535 items.

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Teaching with Digital Content

(Digital Cultural Heritage Community)

Using digitized primary source materials involves fundamental shifts in the service and teaching methods of curators, librarians, and teachers, regardless of their audiences. This project seeks to develop a successful model program to integrate digital primary source materials into K-12 curriculum and assignments, as well as into the educational programs of museums and libraries. This project brings together a group of libraries and museums and their digital content with K-12 teachers, to identify reliable methods of integrating digitized content into teaching units and learning guides, to demonstrate innovative technology-based applications using these materials, and to evaluate and report on their effectiveness. Collection size: approximately 1600 items.

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University Honors — the Bronze Tablets

The University of Illinois began the tradition of inscribing the Bronze Tablets with the names of students receiving University Honors in 1925. A new tablet is hung in the Main Library each year. Inscription on the Bronze Tablets recognizes sustained academic achievement by undergraduate students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. According to the Student Code, students must have at least a 3.5 cumulative grade point-average through the academic term prior to graduation, and rank in the top three percent of the students in their graduating class. The University Library commissioned Chris Brown Photography to photograph the Tablets. Prints are available for purchase through the Illini Union Bookstore.

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University of Illinois Built Environment

The Illinois Built Environment collection provides to the public a first-hand view of select original documents used to shape the Campus. Among others, items include hand sketches of campus plans, original trace and linen drawings of many of the Central Quadrangle buildings, four separate proposed sketches for the original Library, now known as Altgeld Hall, and watercolor renderings for the display of the Alma Mater and many buildings. This collection will grow over time as more original drawings, sketches and renderings are released for public use. Collection size: approximately 270 items.

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