Special collections generally deal with knowledge and information that reside in documents and books rather than artifacts, although the two categories may overlap and some special collections may include artifact collections (i.e. Clemson's). In addition to correspondence, diaries, ledgers, rare books and other publications, etc., special collections may contain photographs, films, videotapes, audio recordings and items in electronic format, all of which document people and organizations doing things. The people who work in special collections arrange, describe and make the material available for use and preserve it from theft and the effects of the environment--temperature, humidity, light, insects, handling damage and chemical reactions that occur in the item itself, to name but a few.
The mission of Special Collections, as part of the University Libraries, is to support Clemson University in fulfilling its teaching, research and public service goals. The Unit's archivists and support staff acquire and preserve manuscripts, books, official University records and publications, photographs, audio-visual material, magnetic tape and artifacts. Access to this material is provided to the University community and other researchers through descriptions in Special Collections and electronic information networks, direct assistance to researchers and outreach services such as exhibits.
Special Collections has a number of manuscript collections relating to the following subjects, among others: the history of the University and the surrounding area, 19th and 20th century state and national politics, conservation and recreation, business (especially the textile industry), agriculture, literature, and genealogy. Volumes in the book collection include South Caroliniana, local history, genealogy (South Carolina and the Southeast), and rare books (literary and scientific). Among the approximately 3,000 objects in the artifact collection are some items from the museum collection that were once in Sikes Hall, Clemson University objects, a small collection of Native American artifacts, objects relating to agriculture, objects relating to the textile industry, and memorabilia from U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond.
Email questions to: