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About Special Collections & University Archives

Special Collections and University Archives, as part of the University Library, supports, enhances and collaborates in the education, research and service activities of the University. We acquire, process, describe, maintain and provide access to the historical papers of people and organizations. You can access these collections in the Special Collections and University Archives reading rooms in the Richard J. Daley Library or in the Library of the Health Sciences-Chicago.
The Special Collections and University Archives reading rooms are reopening August 26, 2020 on a limited basis.  Learn more about visiting and requesting an appointment.

Why use our collections?

Archival and manuscript collections are the historical papers of people and organizations. As unique primary sources, they contain one-of-a-kind documents, photographs and artifacts. Special Collections and University Archives holds more than 63,000 rare books dating from 1496 and more than 14,000 linear feet of archival and manuscript material.

What collections do you have?

The strengths of Special Collections and University Archives collections are the social, political and cultural history of Chicago; the history of education and practice of medicine in Chicago and elsewhere; and historical records of the University of Illinois at Chicago and its predecessors.

Notable collections

Search Special Collections’ list of archival finding aids. Learn more about our named rare book collections.

Ask a Librarian for help.

Learn more about using archival finding aids.

Can anyone access these collections?

Yes! Our collections can be accessed by anyone. We particularly welcome:

  • UIC faculty and students
  • Visiting researchers
  • History Fair students
  • General public

Can my class visit the reading rooms?

Absolutely! We are happy to work with UIC faculty and staff as well as non-UIC educators to structure a hands-on instruction session on a variety of topics. Please submit a request for library instruction.

Can I borrow material from Special Collections & University Archives?

No. Because our collections are unique and often fragile, you must access them in the reading rooms at the Daley Library or at the Library of Health Sciences-Chicago.

Occasionally museums, libraries or other heritage institutions that meet stringent insurance requirements do borrow our materials for exhibits and other purposes.

Our reading rooms have special hours

For the most up-to-date information on when we are open, see hours for Richard J. Daley Library and the Library of the Health Sciences-Chicago.

How Do I...?

Subject & Course Guides