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Collection Development

The following is a greatly abbreviated version of the collection development policy for Special Collections. For a copy of the full policy, contact us.

Collection Strengths and Limitations

Overall, the collections have research potential in the following areas:

  • Specific types of illustrated books (including the Dance of Death, emblem books, and illustrated editions of Ovid)
  • Seventeenth and eighteenth century British religious thought
  • Plato and the Neoplationists
  • English book hands of the tenth to the twelfth century.

However, use of the collection has evolved to become primarily instructional in nature, and the university’s wide-ranging curriculum has revealed numerous gaps and weaknesses. These weaknesses include:

  • English and American women authors, artists, and creators.
  • Literature, history, and art of historically oppressed and marginalized groups in the United States.
  • Global histories of the book, especially in non-Western contexts.
  • Materials related to non-Christian religious and philosophical traditions.
  • Materials related to social movements of the mid- to late-twentieth century.

These weaknesses intersect across the subject areas outlined below and should be considered high priorities for collecting.

Collecting Priorities

  • Books, posters, pamphlets, newspapers, and ephemera related to major social reform movements of the nineteenth and twentieth century, including abolition, temperance, civil rights, women’s rights, and anti-war movements. 
  • Literary and artistic works by British and American women and African-American authors.
  • Works by or about women in the ancient world, especially in illustrated editions that complement strengths in the book arts.
  • Ephemeral literature such as children's publications, chapbooks, ballads, and song sheets, particularly those authored by women.
  • Books, journals, graphic materials, and ephemera pertaining to the languages and cultures of Native Americans, particularly works by Native American authors.
  • Primary and secondary materials related to Lanford Wilson and the works of other LGBTQ dramatists and playwrights.
  • Non-European book structures, illustration, printing, and other exemplars of the history of the book in a global context. 
  • Artists' books in all media, particularly those with innovative structures or use of materials.  
  • Fine press books and ephemera that intersect with teaching and research interests in the book arts more generally, in comic art, or in literature.
  • Long-running superhero series. Gaps should be filled as possible to make these collections more usable in the curriculum. These materials are primarily acquired through gifts.
  • Comic zines, mini-comics, and self-published comics, particularly those by Missouri creators. 
  • Materials related to North American travel and exploration, particularly in the form of manuscripts, ephemera, or other unique materials.
  • Posters, pamphlets, ephemera, photographs, government publications, manuscripts, and other primary sources dating from the WWI and WWII periods.