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Rare Books in the Special Collections and Archives

Recognized as a remarkable collection, the Finley Collection focuses on the early Midwest. In it are the most significant pre-1861 maps and books related to the exploration and settling of this part of America. Complementing the Finley Collection is the Preston Player Collection with maps, books and prints detailing the history of the Mississippi River.

The Ray D. Smith Collection of rare books, maps and manuscripts centers around the Civil War and is particularly strong in the regimental histories of Midwestern states.

The Strong Collection of historically significant maps, photographs and reports from early United States explorations of the Amercian West including materials from the Wheeler Survey expeditions.

Rare literary works are held in the Hemingway Collection. It includes many rare and first editions of Ernest Hemingway's works, as well as those of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, John Dos Passos and others writers of the Lost Generation. In addition, there are rare book collections of the poets Eugene Field and Edgar Lee Masters, both of whom briefly attended Knox. Titles by Galesburg's native son, Carl Sandburg, are shelved in the Special Collections and Archives as well. Further, all of these collections are supported with manuscript holdings by the authors.

There are additional collections concerning children's literature, works by alumni and collections related to Abraham Lincoln.

Use the links in the menu on the left to find more specific descriptions of the collections. Many of the rare book collections can be accessed through Seymour Library's online catalog (use the "more limits" button and select a location limit for a specific collection). Researchers are welcome. Please review our research policies.