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Archives & Special Collections

Ever wonder what your Library has locked away, used only for specialized research and reading? Special Collections and Archives Librarian Joe Swatski is the key to that treasure chest.

Archives & Special Collections

The Archives include Purchase College yearbooks, student publications dating back to 1972, scholarship produced by Purchase College faculty and staff,  and Neuberger Museum of Art publications and catalogs.  Other files and records include historic  19th century newspapers and business correspondence regarding the opening of the college, as well as a few key pieces about the fascinating Thomas cemetery on campus. 

Our Special Collections feature rare, out-of-print monographs and multi-volume book sets, limited editions of seminal works in the fields of art, design, and photography, signed works of historical and political significance, and a teaching collection of unique artist books. Around 500 titles and growing, our collection features books published from the 18th-20th century, with the exception of the artist books, which are more contemporary. The oldest book in the collection is from 1691.

Both areas are overseen by Reference Librarian Joe Swatski. With his institutional knowledge and experience handling unique materials, he can help you access the collections. 

Are there restrictions regarding use?

  1. Special Collections materials will be examined in a supervised area of the Library.
  2. Food and beverages are not permitted when using these materials.
  3. All notes must be taken in pencil. 
  4. The researcher is responsible for the protection of these materials while in use; care must be taken that items are in the same condition as they were found, when  returned. Items handled must not be marked, torn, stained, soiled, wet,  highlighted, or stolen.
  5. Photography is at the discretion of the Library staff present and no flash can be utilized. 
  6. ID cards will be held at the Reference Desk or by the Librarian supervising the use of the Special Collection items, and returned after the Special Collections appointment.

When are they used?

Special collections and archival manuscripts are used when studying the history of the college, literature through the ages, contemporary works of art,  art historical provenance, book history, old scientific techniques; the list goes on. Are you performing specialized research that you think could benefit from interactions with our rare books or archives? Check out our catalog to see what matches your project.