Use Scout to search for published materials in the Division of Special Collections. After entering your search term, limit your search by clicking on the left hand “Location” box and select “Hoole Special Collections Library” or “Williams Americana Collection” to see which items are available in special collections.

Major collections include:

Rare Book Collection

It includes incunabula, titles from seventeenth and eighteenth century France and Britain, and eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth century American works, including significant holdings documenting the Mississippi valley and travel and exploration in early America. Additionally, there are extensive materials relating to New Orleans and Louisiana. Our earliest imprint in the Rare Book Collection is a rubricated copy of the Missale Romanum, printed in Venice by Bernardinus Benalius and dated 1483.

Alabama Collection

The Alabama Collection is long recognized as a significant collection of published Alabamiana. We strive to build a continuously growing, comprehensive collection of books by Alabamians, about Alabama and aspects of Alabama, and/or published in the state of Alabama. These materials document the unique cultural and historical experience of Alabama.  

Wade Hall Collection

A continuing gift of Alabama native Dr. Wade Hall, this collection contains an extensive assortment of books, music, manuscripts, photographs, and quilts documenting the history and culture of the United States during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and is significant for researchers interested in pursuing topics related to popular American history and culture. Hall’s books and music can be searched as published material through Scout; otherwise, to see his manuscripts and photographs, please check the finding aids. His quilts now reside with the College of Human Environmental Sciences under the curation of Dr. Virginia Wimberley.  Miracle and Mystery, A Guide to the Wade Hall Collection


The W. S. Hoole Library’s maps cover Alabama and the Southeast from the 16th century through the early 21st century, many of which  have been digitized and can be found online at Alabama Maps. An important subset of this group, The Warner Map Collection, contains over sixty very fine examples of 16th, 17th and 18th century cartography. The earliest of these is a 1585 Ortelius map of the world that clearly outlines the southeastern portion of what is now the United States. Another important component of this collection is an extensive set of Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps for the state of Alabama.

Additional collections include:

The Jeanne N. and Joseph M. Smith Collection on Alcohol and Addiction Studies

The Smith Collection consists of several hundred volumes, published between the late eighteenth century to the present, that document facets of drug and alcohol use and abuse in the United States. Holdings represent such historical phenomena as the Temperance Movement (especially the role of the Washingtonian Society during the 1840s), Prohibition, and the rise of the modern Recovery Movement, including the origins of Alcoholics Anonymous. 

The Selesky Comics Collection

The Selesky Comic Collection contains nearly 3500 issues of American comic books from the years 1949-1991.

David Walker Lupton African American Cookbook Collection

The Lupton Collection currently consists of over 450 volumes covering the period from 1827, when the first book with recipes by an African American was published, through the year 2000. Additional volumes within the scope of the collection have been added since 2000.

Book Arts Collection

Supporting the MFA Program in the Book Arts, this collection includes fine press, small press, and other examples of artists’ books.Our Book Arts Collection, comprised of examples of fine and experimental printing and binding, supports the MFA program in Book Arts, which is a part of the School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS) at the University of Alabama.

Confederate Imprints Collection

The Confederate Imprints Collection is now housed in the A.S. Williams III Americana Collection, located on the third floor of Gorgas Library. Over 1100 Confederate Imprints produced during the Civil War within the Confederate States can be found in this collection. Please note that all of these items have been cataloged to include their Parrish and Willingham number.

John Crowley Collection

A gift of English professor, John Crowley, the foci of this collection includes American literature, American humor, and the literary works of specific authors, including John O’Hara.

Rucker Agee Collection

A gift of Rucker Agee, this collection includes materials relating to the history and culture of Alabama.

Lafcadio Hearn Collection

The Hearn Collection includes rare and early editions by the author, translator, and scholar, Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904).

Robinson Jeffers Collection

The Jeffers Collection focuses on the works of the American poet, Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962).

Richard Minsky Collection

This collection of late 19th and early 20th century American books were assembled for their exquisite decorated covers. The entirety of the collection was included in the digital project, Publishers’ Bindings Online.

Sir Walter Scott Collection

This collection includes first editions and other early editions of the works of the beloved Scottish historical novelist, playwright, and poet, Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832). Scott invented the historical romance genre which, when adapted to fit American culture, came to dominate Southern arts and letters throughout Reconstruction and up through the early decades of the twentieth century.

George Edwin Starbuck Collection

This collection is the personal library of the American poet, George Edwin Starbuck (1931-1996). The papers of George Starbuck are also housed in the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library.  

E. Dudley Stephens Mystery and Thriller Collection

The Mystery and Thriller Collection consists of signed first editions of American mysteries and thrillers from the second half of the 20th century.

Charles Summersell Maritime Collection

A gift of longtime University of Alabama history professor, Dr. Charles Summersell, this collection focuses on Maritime history with an emphasis on the Gulf Coast.

U.S. World War II Armed Services Editions

A nearly complete collection of these  small, compact, paperback books printed by the Council on Books in Wartime for distribution within the American military during World War II between 1943 and 1946. They were designed to provide entertainment to soldiers serving overseas, while also educating them about political, historical, and military issues.