Let us begin

Welcome!

Here in Randall Library's Special Collections, we're kicking off the start of a new school year with a new blog- a space we would like to purpose for the discussion of projects in process, new acquisitions, exhibits and to showcase some of our rare, one-of-a-kind or otherwise unique items housed in the department. It should be fun for us and for you, and we'll all learn something!

Special collections encompasses the full gamut of research topics and formats, serving every discipline in the academic curriculum in addition to a diverse patron base- from the general public to special interest groups to students and research scholars at all levels of higher education. We are home to approximately 17,000 rare and special books, 330 manuscript collections, 1500 oral histories and a variety of maps, photographs and artwork. Focusing on Wilmington and Lower Cape Fear regional history, highlights from our collections include: 

 
  • The Southeast North Carolina Collection, containing books, monographs and maps pertaining to the region or authored by southeastern North Carolina residents.
  • Manuscript collections of prominent Cape Fearians, Wilmington businesses and civic groups, and the North Carolina coastal environment. 
  • An Oral History collection entailing interviews of Wilmington College and UNC Wilmington alumni, southeastern North Carolina artists, military veterans and chaplains, and health care professionals in New Hanover County. 

Other collections distinctive to Special Collections include:

  • The North Carolina Visual Arts and Artists collection created by artist and former UNC Wilmington professor, Claude Howell. The collection comprises newspaper clippings, posters, exhibit programs and other ephemera documenting more than 20,000 artists working in North Carolina between 1900 and 1986.
  • The John Gunn Sports collection, embodying nearly 8,000 game day programs and media guides focusing on both college and professional sports, primarily football.
  • The History of Science Rare Book collection donated by Dr. Ralph W. Brauer, representing international scientific thought spanning three centuries.
  • The History of Medicine Collection, donated by Dr. H. William Gillen, consisting of medical literature dating back to 1600 with an emphasis in neurology.

Planning your visit:

Special Collections is located on the second floor of Randall library. During the Fall and Spring semesters, our hours of operation are Monday-Thursday 9-5 and Friday 9-12; however, we encourage researchers to make an appointment.

  • Only pencils, paper and laptop computers are permitted in the reading room to ensure collection safety. Digital cameras are allowed for use with unrestricted materials, however we ask that you please turn off the flash element. Lockers are available for storage of personal belongings. 
  • Access to certain collections may be limited under the following conditions: when donor restrictions are imposed; when physical condition warrants restricted use; or when papers are being processed. Staff will work with researchers to facilitate access in the case of collections in process.
  • Photocopying is a service determined by Special Collections.

More information regarding our collections can be found on the Special Collections home page