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

Rare Book Collection

It includes incunabula, titles from seventeenth and eighteenth century France and Britain, and eighteenth through 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. For a comprehensive description of these materials, see Miracle and Mystery: A Guide to the Wade Hall Collection.

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 present. Additional volumes within the scope of the collection have been added since 2000.

Maps 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

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.

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.

Selesky Comics Collection

The Selesky Collection contains roughly 3400 issues of American comic books from the years 1949-1991. Many are superhero titles (these date no earlier than the late 1950s), especially from Marvel, although DC is also well-represented. The other major strength of the collection is in children’s comics, featuring Disney and Looney Tunes characters, among others.

Sneed Comic Book Collection

The Sneed Collection contains roughly 3600 comics and graphic novels, especially strong in classic literature (Classics Illustrated and Pendulum), adventure (including war tales, spy thrillers, and Arthurian legend), fantasy, science fiction, weird fiction, and horror. Also popular are non-fiction topics like history and science. For superhero titles, there is very little Marvel but a fair amount of DC, particularly of the Elseworlds imprint, which puts familiar characters in alternate universes.

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.

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.

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.

Literary Collections

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.

Lafcadio Hearn Collection

Rare and early editions by the author, translator, and scholar, Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904).

Robinson Jeffers Collection

Works of the American poet Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962).

George Edwin Starbuck Collection

The personal library of the American poet, George Edwin Starbuck (1931-1996).