Archives & Special Collections

Johnson Chapel, Amherst College

Robert Sweeney, Johnson Chapel
Buildings and Grounds Collection Box 10, Folder 57a
Amherst College Archives & Special Collections

Archives & Special Collections houses Amherst College's rare books, literary manuscripts, written materials of unique value, historic photographs, sound recordings, moving image recordings, and a large collection of objects. It serves as the official repository for the records of Amherst College, including those pertaining to academic programs and departments, College administration, and student activities. The department collects a wide range of historical and biographical materials relating to alumni, alumnae, faculty and other individuals connected with the College.

The print holdings of Archives & Special Collections contain over 80,000 books and 11,000 linear feet of archival materials. The department houses major collections of Emily Dickinson’s books and manuscripts, along with extensive holdings of other poets and writers. The history of Amherst College and the local community is extensively documented through books, manuscripts, photographs, film, and objects. Other strengths of the collections include natural history, especially ornithology; missionary activity; travel literature; theater; international politics and diplomacy; and social justice and activism.

Archives & Special Collections within Amherst College Digital Collections holds hundreds of digitized objects selected from the print holdings of the department. All Archives & Special Collections material in ACDC is in the public domain, or else the rights are held by Amherst College, which chooses to make the material freely available to the public. The criteria for selecting materials for digitization from Archives & Special Collections are based on the materials’ copyright status, their scholarly and cultural significance, the impact of digitization on user access to materials, the materials’ preexisting organization and metadata, relationships to other collections, and funding sources. See the Digital Programs Department’s Digital Collection Development Policy and the Archives & Special Collections’ General Collection Development Policy for more information.

Archives & Special Collections material within Amherst College Digital Collections:

  • Amherst College Catalog 1971-1972

    Amherst College Catalogs
    The Amherst College Catalog includes information such as the academic calendar, course offerings, faculty, and awards for each academic year.

  • Amherst College Olio 1889

    Amherst College Olios
    Complete editions of the Olio, Amherst College's annual yearbook, spanning 1859 to 2012.

  • General Sir Jeffery Amherst

    Jeffery Amherst Collection
    Collection documenting the military career of Jeffrey Amherst in the British Army, including correspondence, portraits, news clippings, bills, and medals. The bulk of the collection spans 1757-1797.

  • Emily Dickinson

    Emily Dickinson Collection
    Manuscript holdings, letters, and objects relating to the life of Emily Dickinson. Primary strength of the collection is the rough drafts of poetry. Large collection of published works and Dickinson-Related materials.

  • Historical model of Taiso Denshujo Taisojo

    Doshisha University Collection
    Materials documenting the long-standing connection between Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan and Amherst College. Bulk of the collection consists of photo albums documenting student life on the Doshisha University campus.

  • Fossil footprints by Edward Hitchcock

    Edward & Orra White Hitchcock Papers
    Correspondence, sermons, drawings, drafts of unpublished and published work, articles, artwork, and images relating to the professional activities and personal life of Edward Hitchcock, the third President of the College and noted geologist and minister, and his family.

  • Drawing of octopus devouring a ship

    Orra White Hitchcock Classroom Drawings
    Collection of drawings by Orra White Hitchcock, wife of Edward Hitchcock, for use in Hitchcock’s geology and natural history classes.

  • The Middle five: Indian boys at school

    Younghee Kim-Wait (Class of 1982)/Pablo Eisenberg Collection of Native American Literature
    Includes works by Native American authors dating from 1772 to the present day. The collection encompasses a wide range of subjects, from fiction and poetry to philosophy and tribal histories.

  • Karl Loewenstein office diary, 1945 August 7 to 1946 August 21

    Karl Loewenstein Papers
    Materials produced by Karl Loewenstein over the course of his career as a political scientist, professor, lawyer, and government advisor. Bulk of the collection comes from Loewenstein’s academic career and work for the U.S. Office of Military Government for Germany (OMGUS).

  • Horae, Dominican and Roman use

    Manuscript Collection
    Includes handwritten and illuminated 15th and 16th century religious and philosophical manuscripts, as well as the diary of a 19th century missionary to Armenia and a manuscript essay written by John Burroughs and edited by Walt Whitman.

  • Horae, Dominican and Roman use

    Nelson Family Juvenilia Collection of Pamela Russell and Murray McClellan
    Small, handwritten and illustrated works created by the three Nelson brothers during their pre-teen and teenage years growing up in Goshen, New Hampshire in the 1890's. Works include periodicals, books, catalogs and maps.

  • Walt Whitman

    Walt Whitman Collection
    Contains manuscripts, correspondence, galley proofs, portraits, notes and printed material of Walt Whitman. Collected by William E. Barton (1861 – 1930).

  • William Wordsworth

    William Wordsworth Manuscript Collection
    Contains manuscripts, correspondence, portraits, drafts and autographs of William Wordsworth. Collected by Cornelius H. Patton, Amherst class of 1883.

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