About Special Collections

Donating to Special Collections

Special Collections has always relied on the generosity of donors to continue to grow. From the very first rare books donated in the 1930’s to recently acquired archival and manuscript collections, our world-class research collections are the creation of a wide group of people who have been generous enough to help support it.

We actively seek donations related to the initiatives described in our Collection Development Policy We regularly accept donation ranging in size from a single book to large archival collection. Our collections are actively managed and well-utilized by students and researchers. Please contact us to discuss your donation inquiry, we will be happy to hear from you.

Additionally, we gratefully accept gifts of funds to help support the work of Special Collections. Make a tax-deductible contribution to Special Collection today.

For more information, or to discuss donating, please contact us at Special Collections.

History of the University of North Texas Special Collections

Dr. J.L. Kingsbury was named by the Board of Regents as the inaugural curator of the Historical Collection in 1926. Originally a collection of “curios and antiques” the Historical Collection was intended to be a place to showcase the “development of modern inventions through the successive stages that have been brought about by the continual improvements that have been added.” The collection included antique household goods, furniture, military uniforms and weaponry, ethnographic artifacts, books, archival collections, and materials documenting the history of the university. Upon closure of the Historical Building in 1986, the Historical Collection was dispersed, with materials going to the University Archive, the Rare Books Room and local museums.

The University of North Texas Archives originated in 1974 in discussions between UNT Library Director, David Webb, Dr. Robert LaForte and Dr. Jack Scroggs. The creation of the University Archive was officially announced in 1975 by President C. C. Nolen to house university records of enduring value and to document the development of north central Texas. The University Archives Reading Room, on the 4th floor of Willis Library was renovated and named the Judge Sarah T. Hughes Reading Room on September 6, 1996 through a generous challenge grant from Hoblitzelle Foundation.

The Rare Book Room was formed in 1981 by bringing together various items already in the collections of the UNT Libraries. Holdings included 15th -20th century books, periodicals, posters, maps, original artworks and artifacts. Included among the collections of the Rare Book Room were important collections of the former Historical Collections including the Civil War Manuscripts collection, the Weaver Collection and the Anson Jones Collection. Dr. Kenneth Lavender curated the Rare Book collection from 1981-2001.

In 2012 the University Archives and Rare Books departments were combined, allowing the staff of both departments to operate out of a single location. The Sarah T. Hughes Room was relocated to the former Rare Books Room and rededicated in the Judge’s honor. The Preservation Department was also formally incorporated as a part of Special Collections in 2012. The name of the department was changed from “Archives and Rare Books” to “Special Collections” in 2013 to better describe the holdings and functions of the department. Morgan Gieringer became the inaugural Head of Special Collections in 2013.

In 2012 the Research Collections Library (RCL) was opened, becoming the primary storage location for Special Collections. In 2018 Special Collections opened a remote processing and cataloging facility within the UNT Library Annex.

Between 2014-2015 a large collection of artifacts originating from the Historical Collection which had been on long-term loan to the Denton County Office of History and Culture were transferred back to UNT Libraries. These artifacts, including household goods, antique furniture, branding irons and pottery, are now housed and managed by Special Collections.

In 2018 UNT Special Collections was awarded the Archival Award of Excellence by the Texas Historical Records Advisory Board (THRAB).