Special Collections is the repository for archival collections, rare books, and other unique materials in the Ingram Library at the University of West Georgia. Significant collecting areas include West Georgia History & Culture, Georgia's Political Heritage, Humanistic Psychology, and Parapsychology. Special Collections also holds the University Archives, primary source materials which shed light on student life and the academic experience at UWG. Through these collections and through our work partnering with other community archives, Special Collections directly supports and enriches research, teaching, and learning at the University of West Georgia and promotes understanding and scholarship by members of the general public and academic communities.
The mission of Special Collections is to acquire, preserve, provide access to, and promote the use of a wide range of primary resource materials in their original formats, including books, manuscripts, photographs, artifacts, and electronic recordings, to support and enhance the educational, research, service mission, and administrative activities of the University of West Georgia, its constituencies, and the University System of Georgia.
To help with this Mission, donations are key to the future of the Special Collections. To learn more about donating materials to the ABW Special Collections, please see our Charitable Gift Fund.
Special Collections serves as the repository for rare materials in the Irvine S. Ingram Library. Over the years Special Collections has built collections of manuscripts, books, films, photographs, sound recordings, and other formats in a number of specialized areas. These areas have been chosen with faculty and other specialists and in response to various opportunities to obtain primary research materials.
Special Collections holds the University Archives in addition to the University Libraries' collections of rare and special books, manuscripts, and historical maps and photographs. Through these collections the department supports the research, teaching, and service mission of this university and its constituencies.
The collections are non-circulating and maintained in closed stacks. Security measures include limited access by staff and an electronic security system throughout the department. Exhibits from materials in Special Collections are created by the department and are rotated several times a year.
Acquisitions that do not fall into existing collecting areas sometimes are made in anticipation of new emphases. In addition to scholarly research value, library faculty may also take into account some items' exhibit and/or outreach potential.
Special Collections accepts from other departments of the Ingram Library transfers of materials that require special protection and care. Criteria considered in such transfers include fragility, age, associative value, and market value. These materials are accepted regardless of whether the subject area(s) represented are ones targeted by the ABW Special Collections as collecting emphases.
The collections support a wide range of researchers, including undergraduates, graduates, faculty, and other scholars whose work relies on primary resource materials, rare printed material, and manuscripts.
Special Collections' primary responsibility is to serve the needs of the University’s students and faculty. To this end, the department seeks to collect in subject areas receiving substantial and sustained attention within the University community, those representing ongoing departmental research interests, or those areas that are the focus of interdisciplinary programs.
Special Collections also considers service to scholars on the national and international levels to be an important part of its mission. The library faculty seek to build collections in areas not well covered by other repositories. Consequently, the Special Collections draws visiting scholars to campus and enhances the University's overall reputation as a center for scholarship.
Types of Materials Collected
These include primarily original correspondence, diaries, and manuscripts, logbooks, ledgers, photographs, drawings, and other records of historical importance to support the mission of the university and to enrich the department's existing collections. The department also collects publications that augment the various manuscript and archival collections as well as the University Archives. The department does not collect secondary or reproduction source materials such as microfilm or photocopies of original materials. Unless a collection contains significant original manuscript material, raw research notes alone will not be collected.
Responsibility for collecting materials for the Special Collections rests among members of the department who, to complement their own subject expertise, often consult with other resource specialists within the Ingram Library as well as other faculty and University Advancement officials. The Head of Special Collections is responsible for the general supervision and coordination of collection development activities. Collections whose source has an already established collection at another repository will not be accessioned in accordance with the ethical standards of the archival profession.
Donation is the usual method of acquisition for the Special Collections, which solicits gifts of materials from individuals and organizations. University alumni, faculty members, and other members of the university community provide assistance in identifying potential donors.
Subject Areas Collected
Collecting areas are regularly reviewed and modified by the department's Collection Development team, which is made up of the Dean of University Libraries, the Head of Special Collections, and other library faculty. As circumstances change, the collecting areas will be re-evaluated and modified as appropriate. Brief statements for current collection strengths follow.
Named for the college's first librarian, the Annie Belle Weaver Special Collections houses historic materials and books that are irreplaceable due to their age and rarity. Annie Belle Weaver (1904-1991) was hired by West Georgia College President I. S. Ingram in 1933 when the library was one room in the west wing of the Administration Building. During her long tenure here, she saw the construction of the first library building, Sanford Hall, which now houses the President's offices, and then the current Ingram Library building finished in 1968. Ms. Weaver retired a year later. Under former Library Director Charles Beard, Ms. Weaver was memorialized in 1981 with the naming of the Annie Belle Weaver Special Collections, now housed on the ground floor of Ingram Library with the renovation of the library.
In the history of the Library, books were solicited from the community on a variety of topics to form a research nucleus for students attending the Fourth District Agricultural & Mechanical School. Penelope Melson, wife of the principal, began the collection when she held a “book shower” in 1908. The Carrollton community donated 325 books and magazines which were placed on a single shelf in the linen closet in the dormitory lobby.
In 1970s a group of professors travelled to South America on a book acquisitions tour. This small collection, relating to the Panama Canal and South Americana, is also held in Special Collections.
The Hooks Collection is a 1,600-volume library of 19th and 20th century books covering subjects such as life after death, extra sensory perception, out-of-body experiences, apparitions and altered states of consciousness. It belonged to David Wayne Hooks and was acquired by Special Collections in association with the Psychical Research Foundation.”
“In August 1983 Congressman Newt Gingrich signed an agreement for his papers to be placed at West Georgia College. This added a national aspect to our political collections, a collection begun in 1980 with the acquisition of the Ebb Duncan papers. Over the years papers from Newt’s various offices have regularly made their way here, culminating, of course, with all that will be arriving soon as a result of the closure of Newt’s offices in D.C. and Georgia due to his resignation.” ---Email from Myron House to Lisa Ledbetter on November 16, 1998.