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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 American 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.
Use the links in the menu on the left to find more specific descriptions of the collections. Titles in the rare book collections can be found in the Library's online catalog. Researchers are welcome. Please review our research policies.