Special Collections

Center for Southeast North Carolina Archives and History
Collection Development Policy - Special Collections


Special Collections serves as the research repository for rare, unique and primary source materials in the William Madison Randall Library (Randall Library). The collections support research by a wide range of scholars including undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, community researchers, and visiting scholars whose work utilizes and relies on these materials. 

Special Collections’ primary purpose is to serve the research needs of UNC Wilmington’s faculty, staff, and students, as well as the community at large. Additionally, Special Collections seeks to play an important role in documenting and preserving the history and creative output of the broader southeast North Carolina region by building collections that support this mission.

Acquisition of materials and coordination of collection development activities are the responsibility of the Associate Director for Library Specialized Collections in conjunction with the Special Collections Librarian and other Special Collections staff. Donation is the preferred method of acquisition, but acquisitions might also occur through the purchase of select items. 

Primary Collecting Areas 

Southeast North Carolina (SENC) Collection:

The Southeast North Carolina (SENC) collection consists of books, monographs, pamphlets, and serials in addition to paper and electronic manuscript collections, analog and electronic media, maps, and artwork emphasizing local and regional topics of historic importance. Southeast North Carolina encompasses New Hanover County and the surrounding region including Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Duplin, Pender, Onslow, and Sampson counties. 

SENC books, monographs, pamphlets and serials not only document the history of the region and current events, but also capture the creative output of local authors. 

SENC manuscript collections include personal papers and collections covering a wide range of subjects. These collections of primary source material were generated by individuals, families, and organizations with connections to the southeast region of North Carolina or UNC Wilmington. Materials include audio-visual items, correspondence, diaries, ledgers, photographs, scrapbooks, writings, and other documentary evidence. Manuscript collections falling outside the scope of Special Collections’ policy include, but are not limited to, genealogical research files and faculty papers that do not contain information pertinent to the repository’s regional focus. Faculty papers that include materials related to UNC Wilmington history will be directed to University Archives. 

Existing areas of strength: Arts and artists, civil rights, coastal culture and environment policy, education, film, military (Civil War, WWI & WWII), politics, and religion.

Active collecting areas: Special Collections seeks materials that further enhance existing areas of strength and document cultural and historical life in southeast North Carolina.  

Special Manuscript Collections:

Special manuscript collections include personal papers and collections covering a range of topics that fall outside the scope of southeast North Carolina, but which support curriculum and research needs at UNC Wilmington. 

Existing areas of strength: film, sports

Active collecting areas: film

Rare and Special Books: 

The rare and special book collection consists of books, serials and maps in a variety of subject areas. Rare and special books include limited or first edition books, monographs, miniature books, design bindings, select rare items pre-dating 1900, and items associated with manuscript collections. 

Existing areas of strength: North Carolina history, 19th and 20th century miniature books, U.S. sports history

Active collecting areas: Rare and special North Carolina history books

Deaccessioning Policy 

Special Collections may transfer materials that do not fall within the existing areas of strength or active collecting areas to a more appropriate collection or otherwise deaccession them, subject to the terms of acquisition, University regulations, and state and federal laws.