Mission Statement

Special Collections in Ingram Library gathers, preserves, and publicly shares primary sources to advance teaching, learning, scholarship, and community engagement in service to the University of West Georgia, regional community, scholars and members of the general public. 

What is Special Collections? 

Special Collections in Ingram Library is the repository for primary sources such as archival collections, rare books, and other unique materials at the University of West Georgia. Our significant collecting areas are central and responsive to the research, teaching, and learning priorities at the University of West Georgia and include the University Archives, West Georgia History & Culture, Georgia Political Papers and Oral History Program, and Humanistic Psychology & Parapsychology. 

Through collecting and preserving these rare, scarce, and valuable materials; through sharing the materials through exhibitions, teaching, programs, and digitization; through creating student-centered spaces and services; through regular engagement with individuals, families, and organizations in the West Georgia region; 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. 

  • Collection Policy
    Collection Policy

    ABW 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 ABW 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.

    ABW 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.

  • Collecting Rationale
    Collecting Rationale

    ABW 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.

    ABW 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 ABW Special Collections draws visiting scholars to campus and enhances the University's overall reputation as a center for scholarship.

  • Types of materials collected
    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.

  • Collecting Methods
    Collecting Methods

    Responsibility for collecting materials for the ABW 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 ABW 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
    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.

  • Primary Collecting Areas
    Primary Collecting Areas
    Georgia Political History

    Collection Strengths: Begun in the mid-1980s, Georgia’s Political Heritage Program is a growing collection of oral history interviews, and several associated manuscript collections, with prominent current and former Georgia political figures at the state and federal level. Notable collections are former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the late Georgia House Speaker Tom Murphy, former U.S. Congressmen Bob Barr, Pat Swindall, and Mac Collins, and many other former Georgia state legislators. Interviews include key political figures such as Herman Talmadge, Andrew Young, Lester Maddox, Hosea Williams, and many individuals who have represented the West Georgia region during the critical civil rights era of the mid-20th century. Interviews are available on the Digital Library of Georgia website.

    Humanistic Psychology and Parapsychology

    Collection Strengths: Notable among these collections are papers of scholars such as Sidney Jourard, who founded the American Association for Humanistic Psychology; Carmi Harari, who founded the Division of Humanistic Psychology within the American Psychology Association, and researcher and author William Roll, who was director of the Institute for Parapsychical Research at Duke University before coming to UWG and who has written extensively about poltergeists and psychical research. The papers of psychologist and University of Georgia professor Edith Weisskopf-Joelson, who studied schizophrenia, alienation, and logotherapy, are included here.

    West Georgiana History and Culture

    Collection Strengths: Collections include University and Carroll County, Georgia, oral histories, history of local civic, commercial, church and medical organizations, and family histories. Notable is the Benjamin M. Long collection from a local insurance agent who photographed many of Carrollton’s buildings from the 1920s to 1960s as well as keeping scrapbooks documenting local history.

    University History

    Collection Strengths: Papers and memorabilia of alumni, faculty, and administrators of what began as the 4th District A&M School, then the two-year West Georgia College which expanded to four-year, then the State University of West Georgia and now the University of West Georgia. Focuses on the historical record of the university, particularly its presidents and vice presidents, notable faculty and student life. The first president kept a long-running series of scrapbooks, as did the later public relations office of the college. Collection includes master’s theses of West Georgia students.

  • Secondary Collecting Areas
    Secondary Collecting Areas
    American Traditional Music

    Collection Strengths: Sacred Harp singing practice and performance video recordings, shape note songbooks dated 1912 to 1974, Sacred Harp Music singings programs and announcements 1957-2007, newsletters and minutes, and other hymnals and sacred music songbooks dated 1857 to 1977.

    Rare Books and Printed Material

    Collection Strengths: Cataloged in the library’s online catalog, this collection includes over 600 volumes from the personal library of Dr. Sidney Jourard related to subjects of psychology; more than 1,000 volumes of primarily late 19th and early 20th century with a heavy focus on local, regional and state history, as well as classic literature and history books that stocked the college’s first library. Monographs of current and former faculty are actively collected. The David Wayne 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.