Lightly Worn: The Dust Jacket in Britain, 1920-1960
On display now
Special Collections Reading Room
Featuring selections from a private collection, the exhibition focuses on commercial book design from the early 1920s to the late 1950s and includes dust jackets produced for authors such as Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, John Betjeman, and Osbert Sitwell. In the exhibition, guest curator Kyle Stoneman highlights designs created by fine artists such as Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Rex Whistler, Cecil Beaton, and Osbert Lancaster. Also on display are drawings by Laura Knight and Robert Bevan, which are included to further reveal how commercial design helped shape the appearance of modern art in Britain.
This exhibit can be viewed Monday through Friday 8:30 to 4:30 through May of 2016.
Special Collections is the rare book facility for Walker Library. Its mission is to acquire, preserve and provide access to materials to support the activities of students, faculty, and staff, as well as members of the general public.
Search the Collections
Search Special Collections using the Library Catalog.
Early Tennessee Imprints
The Early Tennessee Imprints collection consists of books and other print materials produced in Tennessee between the years 1791 and 1866 (that is, between the year the first printing press operated at Rogersville and the first year after the Civil War).
Dimensional and Artist's Books
The Dimensional and Artist's Books collection is an eclectic collection that explores the nature and boundaries of the book form. The collection encompasses examples of fine letterpress printing as well as artists' books that alter, question, or play with the conventional experience of reading or otherwise using the book. Additionally, the collection includes miniature books as well as pop-up and movable books. We have especially strong holdings in works by Julian Wehr (1898-1970), the American master of animated children's books.
Robert Allen Ragland Sr. Memorial Civil War
The Robert Allen Ragland Sr. Memorial Civil War collection includes nineteenth and twentieth-century books and other materials that cover various aspects of the Civil War. The collection has numerous materials that focus on the war in Tennessee and on the Battle of Stones River.
The University Collection consists of MTSU theses, yearbooks, institutional publications, and similar items.
Special Collections Reference Area
The Special Collections Reference Area includes works on book collecting and the rare book market, various bibliographies and checklists, technical and historical works on printing and bookbinding, historical works on bookselling and publishing, and studies centered on the history of print culture.
Books and other items held in Special Collections can be fragile, old, unique, and often of considerable monetary value. They require careful handling as well as a stable and secure environment. Please observe these rules when using Special Collections:
- First-time users are asked to complete a registration form and present a photo ID before using materials.
- Special Collections materials--including reference books--do not circulate.
- Food or drink must not be brought into the area.
- Pencils--but not pens--should be used in the Reading Room.
- Rare books must remain on the work tables. Please do not pick them up and carry them around the Reading Room.
- The Reading Room is a quiet area. Patrons and staff engage in research, cataloging, and other activities that require concentration.
- Fragile or rare items may require handling by staff. Use of some materials may be otherwise restricted at the discretion of staff.
- Photocopying and digital imaging are considered on an item-by-item basis.
- The current legal status of copyright regulates the photoreproduction of MTSU theses. By law, we cannot photocopy entire or substantial portions of any MTSU thesis without permission conveyed in a letter signed and mailed to Special Collections by the author.
- Requests for photocopying cannot be immediately accommodated.
- Briefcases, backpacks, bags, and other items brought into the Reading Room are subject to inspection when visitors leave the area. Lockers are available for storing these items while users are in Special Collections.
Special Collections is located on the 4th floor of the Walker Library. Both the Reading Room and the Exhibition Room are open to the public from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Thursday and from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm on Friday. The area is not open weeknights or on weekends.
From time to time, Special Collections hosts lectures presented by visiting scholars or by MTSU faculty, and occasionally Special Collections hosts MTSU classes whose students use materials in the collections. At these times the Reading Room may be temporarily unavailable for research.
Ask a Research Question
You may contact ask a research or collections question at LIBspeccoll@mtsu.edu. General research questions will be referred to the Reference Desk on the 1st floor.
Alan Boehm, Special Collections Librarian
Susan Hanson, Library Specialist