Special Collections


Suidas Greek Lexicon 1499 page from Batchelder-Haley Letters Plate from Mount Desert Coast of Maine

Suidas.  Milan: Bissolus, 1499.

Printer's device from oldest book in our collections, a Greek lexicon from the Albert A. Howard Book History Collection.

The Batchelder-Haley Letters contains correspondence from two Gorham Normal School graduates written to a mentor back home while teaching in Japan in the early 1900s.

Hinshelwood, Robert. Mount Desert Coast of Maine. New York: D. Appelton, 1871.

Steel engraving from a volume in the General Rare Book Collection.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is Special Collections?

    Special Collections, a library department, consists of rare or unique items that require different management than general library materials. Therefore, its collections are housed separately, and its hours and rules of use are also specific to the department.

  2. Where are you located?

     USM Portland Campus, Glickman Library, 6th floor.

    For a campus map and directions: http://usm.maine.edu/about/directions-portland-campus.

  3. Where can I park?

    For a campus map and directions: http://usm.maine.edu/about/directions-portland-campus.

  4. What are your hours?

    We are open to the public Monday, Wednesday & Thursday from 1 - 5 p.m., and if necessary, available other times by appointment. Please call 207-780-4269 or send an email to: susie.bock@maine.edu to schedule a time.

  5. Do I need to make an appointment in advance?

    No, but it helps to let us know when you are coming and what you are interested in seeing or researching.

  6. Who can use your collections?

     Anyone with a photo-ID. We are free and open to the public.

  7. Can materials be checked out?


  8. What do I need to use Special Collections? What should I bring or not bring? What do I need to know to use the reading room?

    You need a photo-ID. We have pencils, which we ask you to use. Food and drink are not allowed. You may bring your laptop or tablet. For a full list of our Rules of Use, go to: http://usm.maine.edu/library/specialcollections/reading-room-policy.

  9. Can I touch/handle the materials? Do I have to wear gloves?

    You may touch our material, but we ask you to handle items with care. We do not usually ask users to wear gloves, but based on the item, we may require their use or other tools to support or hold the item.

  10. Can I bring a class to Special Collections?          

    Yes, for how-to and ideas: http://usm.maine.edu/library/specialcollections/bring-classes.

  11. How do I request photocopies or digital reproductions? What are your fees?

    Material may be requested in person, by mail, email, or telephone call. Copies will only be provided upon payment. For information on fees go to: http://usm.maine.edu/library/specialcollections/reproduction-policy.

  12. How can I obtain permission to publish an image or quote from material in your collections?

     Email or call the Head of Special Collections, susie.bock@maine.edu, 207-780-4269.

  13. What is a finding aid?

     A finding aid describes the content of a manuscript collection, materials created by an individual or an organization. Finding aids can be found online on the Special Collections section of USM’s digital commons: http://digitalcommons.usm.maine.edu/special_collections/.

  14. What is a primary source?

    A primary source is an item which has not been interpreted by someone else; it is without analysis. A letter written by President Obama to the Governor of Maine about state taxes is a primary source on US tax policy, but a book by USM Prof. Charles Colgan about US economic policy is not.

  15. How do I find out more about your collections?

    This webpage has brief descriptions of our collections and links to more detailed descriptions: http://usm.maine.edu/library/specialcollections/collections.

  16. Are your collections online?

    No, but items from some collections have been digitalized. See “Explore our Resources”: http://usm.maine.edu/library/specialcollections/programs-and-publications and at: http://digitalcommons.usm.maine.edu/special_collections/.

  17. What is the oldest item in your collection?
    A Greek lexicon (dictionary) and encyclopedia called the Suida printed in Milan by Bissolus in 1499. This book is valued for its extensive quotations from Greek literature, especially of works which no longer survive. See photograph at top of page.
  18. What types of materials do you have?

    Special Collections has unique material cultural that: documents the history of the University of Southern Maine, supports the curriculum, and documents the histories of Maine’s African American, Jewish, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgenger, Queer+ communities. This includes books, pamphlets, broadsides, posters, banners, manuscripts, photographs, audio and audio-visual items, clothes, buttons with slogans, household objects, artwork, and many other items.

  19. Do you provide research services?

    No, we will search our collections to answer simple questions, but any research requiring more than 15 minutes must be carried out by the individual.

  20. What is the Sampson Center?

    The Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine collects material documenting the ongoing histories of diverse communities. Current collections represent the African American, Jewish, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer+ communities. The Center promotes diversity and civil rights through research, education, and outreach. It is part of Special Collections.

  21. What is University Archives?

    The University Archives contains the records of the University of Southern Maine as well as its precursors, Gorham Normal School through the University of Maine in Gorham (1878-1970), Portland University (1921-1961), Portland Junior College (1933-1957), and the University of Maine in Portland (1957-1970); University of Maine, Portland - Gorham (1970-1978). It is part of Special Collections.

  22. Who do I talk to about donating materials to Special Collections?

     Susie R. Bock, 207-780-4269, susie.bock@.maine.edu.

  23. Do you host events? What kind? How do I find out about?

    Yes, we host events related to our collections, diversity, or the African American, Jewish, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer+ communities of Maine. We have hosted workshops, speaking events, classes, and exhibitions. To see past events, go to “Explore Our Resources:” http://usm.maine.edu/library/specialcollections/programs-and-publications.

    Join our mailing list to find out about upcoming events: https://confirmsubscription.com/h/j/4E43BEE84DC50135.