Special Collections

Book Collection

 To get started searching our collections, see this Guide to Finding Materials in Special Collections.   
The Wonder of Wonders, or The Remarkable Discovery of an American Hermit; Who Lived Upwards of 200 Years by James K. Remich. Printed in Kennebunk, Maine 1815. Chapbook from the Albert A. Howard Book History Collection.


Anthoensen Press Collection    [LC call #] AnthoensenThe Anthoensen Press was a 20th-century small press located in Portland, Maine. It published fine editions, and the majority of its titles were about the New England region.  This is from the Press's own collection, incorporating books it published and printed as well as books from other small presses. The collection was given to the University by Edward F. Dana, secretary of the Press, in the 1960s, with additions in the 1970s and 1980s.

Read more about the Press.

Search the Anthoensen Press Collection in the online catalog URSUS.

Kate Cheney Chappell ’83 Center for Book Arts Collection       

University of Southern Maine alumna Kate Cheney Chappell (’83), co-founder of Tom’s of Maine, studied book arts under well-known Maine book artist and USM faculty member Rebecca Goodale. A professional artist, Chappell’s love of creating handmade books was something she wanted to share with a gift that established The Kate Cheney Chappell '83 Center for Book Arts at USM in 2008, with Goodale as program coordinator.  The Center for Book Arts celebrates the innovative and engaging nature of book arts through lectures and workshops by national and regional book artists, and through exhibits of artists’ books.  The Center for Book Arts Collection is composed of artists’ books created by the Center's guest speakers, workshop leaders, and/or participants in exhibitions, as well as artist's books which support the academic mission of the Center.  As the collection grows it inspires USM's  students and the community while simultaneously celebrating the Center’s history.

Search the Chappell Book Arts Collection in the online catalog URSUS.

John and Bonnie Fossett History of Nursing Collection    LC call number

The collection contains memoirs and biographies of pioneers and leaders in American nursing, as well as a diary of a nurse from the town of Mexico, Maine. As of March 2014, the collection contained 34 volumes. In 2018 the collection was expanded in size and scope to include the history of nursing, early nursing theory, nursing education, as well as examples of literary genres depicting nurses. You can view a nurse's diary from Mexico, Maine here. 


Search the John and Bonnie Fossett History of Nursing Collection in the online catalog URSUS.

General Rare Book Collection    LC call number
The collection spans the period 1650-2012, with the bulk of the titles being published between 1790 and 1940. The books cover a wide range of topics from American and New England history (the most common subjects), to language and literature, to political science.

Albert A. Howard Book History Collection
Albert A. Howard was a retired USM Rare Book Cataloger and Honorary Curator of Printed Books. This rare book collection includes works of Bruce Rogers, Merrymount Press, W.A. Dwiggins, various small presses, a reference collection on book collections, c. 200 Greek and Latin books primarily from the 16th-18th centuries, and 19th c. chapbooks.  Also includes various ephemera.  Framed items: 1 leaf from 15th c. book; 1 leaf from Chaucer work, 1896; Oath of Hippocrates, 1941; Honorary Membership Certificate, Society of Calligraphers, 1925.     15th c. to 21st c.    

View online exhibitions of books from the Reformation and Colonial Mexico from this collection.

Search the Howard Book History Collection in the online catalog URSUS.

Read more about Albert A. Howard's life and career: "A Personal Reflection"

Shirley S. and Bernard Kazon Americana Collection
Bernard Kazon, vice president of Eastland Shoe Corp., collected political works of early America as well as documents related to slavery.  He and his wife donated their collection to USM in 1997.  The Collection consists of printed items documenting American political history from the 18th-20th centuries, including books, pamphlets and documents, such as a broadside seeking a runaway slave.     18th-20th centuries    

View a selection of documents related to slavery from this collection. 

Search the Kazon Americana Collection in the online catalog URSUS.

Hugh Pendexter III Memorial Collection

This collection contains books of poetry by Maine writers Robert P. Tristram Coffin and Edwin Arlington Robinson donated in memory of Hugh Pendexter III.     1896-1967     4 ft.

Daphne and Heather Rees Collection of Books for Young Women

This collection, donated by Heather Rees, contains over 100 titles of British and American adventure stories for girls.     1862-1990, undated     11 ft.

Reference Collection    Reference [LC call #]
Twentieth and Twenty-first century secondary works about the subjects represented in the department's collections. Topics include fine printing, American and British children's books, movable books, Judaica, African Americans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, American political history, oral history, archives and special collections librarianship.     1900s-2000s     14 ft.

Edith C. Rice Collection of Children's Literature    [LC call #] Rice

Books collected by Barbara Winn Adams over her lifetime, bequeathed to USM's Special Collections with the request that the Collection be named as a memorial to the children's librarian at Arlington, MA in the 1920s.  The Collection consists primarily of early-to-mid 20th-century children's books, with some 19th-century books, mostly American and British, including folk tales and adolescent literature.  Includes 42 first editions.     1800s-1900s

Search the Rice Children's Literature Collection in the online catalog URSUS.

Textbook Collection    [LC call #] Textbook

Educational texts used in K-12 schools printed primarily in the United States (mostly New York and  Massachusetts) dating from the 18th to 20th centuries, with the bulk dating from the late nineteenth century. Many of the works have brief annotations, a name of a former owner and place, but a few have extensive notes. The bulk of the Collection was given to us by E. Grosvenor Plowman (Lecturer in Business Administration, 1966-1978) in the 1960s, but a few titles have been added over the years.     1700s-1900s

Anne D. Williams Family Movable and Children's Book Collection 
Anne D. Williams is Professor Emerita of Economics at Bates College, Lewiston, Maine.  This extensive collection of pop-up books was gathered by Prof. Williams in support of her interest in illustration and paper engineering.  While dates range from the 1930s to the 2000s, the majority of the books date from the 1980s and 1990s.     1930s-2000s

Search the Williams Family Movable and Children's Book Collection in the online catalog URSUS.