Archives and Special Collections: Treasures on the move

This was part of a series of posts leading up to the move from Von der Ahe Library to William H. Hannon Library. It has been maintained here for historical purposes. For the most recent information about the Archives and Special Collections Department, please visit the library website

Did you know that LMU’s Department of Archives and Special Collections is home to an outstanding collection of rare and valuable items?  Currently located on the lower level of Von der Ahe Library, the department houses (among other things) the first folio of Shakespeare, three incunabula (books printed in the first half-century after the invention of the printing press), works of fine art, important Los Angeles history collections, and over a million postcards.  A&SC is also home to the University Archives, which is where you can find the most information on the history of LMU.  Best of all, anyone is welcome to make an appointment to come and peruse these treasures in the comfort and safety of the Special Collections reading room.

If that sounds good now, just wait until we move into our new home in the William H. Hannon Library!  Archives & Special Collections is moving up in the world–both literally and figuratively.  We’ll be located on the top floor of the Hannon Library, and in addition to a reading room where researchers will work one-on-one with the materials, we’re getting a new exhibit gallery and classroom.

So, what does this mean for you, the library patron?  Having a separate classroom and reading room means that researchers will be able to come in even when classes are visiting.  Having a dedicated gallery space within the department (with added security) means that you’ll be able to drop in and see some of our greatest treasures out on display.  During our first year in the new building, keep an eye out for a series of exhibits on the History of the Book.

A less obvious change is that, while our public spaces will be on the top floor, our collections will be lovingly cared for in the basement with light, temperature, and humidity controls to ensure that LMU’s treasures will be preserved for future generations.  For our patrons, this means that collections that were previously stored off-campus and used to require a few days’ notice to allow for transportation, may now be available for researchers the same day.  However, it also means that collections that used to be available immediately may require a few hours’ advance notice for us to retrieve them from the basement–a perfect time to look over the latest exhibit, take in a movie from our media collection, or enjoy a coffee downstairs in the café!

Printed and holograph promissory note to France, dated August 15, 1781, printed and signed by Benjamin Franklin.

Image courtesy of LMU Archives & Special Collections.