Special Collections showcases unique items


McCain Library houses thousands of books, pamphlets, transcripts and other historical resources available for student use. The Department of Special Collections features an item monthly.

“La Electrificacion de los Ferrocarriles: Conferencia Pronunciada,” a transcript of a lecture delivered by Albert Ganzenmüller, a German engineer living in Argentina after World War II was September’s item of the month.

All previous items of the month are available on the McCain Library website.

Linda Ginn, a librarian who catalogs railroad documents for special collections, suggested the transcript for September’s featured item.

“This one seemed especially interesting in that it was in Spanish, its author was German and it was about railroads in 1952,” Ginn said. “The author was German and in South America following World War II. We have two copies of this speech in print, and I did not find any indication or records that any other library had it. It could be that transcript of the speech is unique and we’re the only place to look at it. The two copies we have are in Spanish.”

This item is a part of a larger collection of manuscripts, pamphlets and other materials about railroads.

“That item will be housed in rare books and manuscripts,” said Assistant Coordinator of Historical Manuscripts Cindy Lawler. “Part of many thousands of papers, documents, travel brochures about railroads and railroad companies in the united states, Canada, Europe and some in India and South America.”

“Special Collections is a library that contains a few different libraries within in such as Mississippi Annuit Rare books, periodicals, historical manuscripts and archives,” said Special Collections Specialist Andrew Rhodes. “That includes former governor’s collections, like Theodore Bilbo. There are also railroad and lumber collections. The first collection I processed when I started working here was a Nobel prize winner in literature in 1911. A lot of civil rights stuff which deals with Freedom Summer. We also have civil war diaries and letters.”

The de Grummond Collection is one of McCain Library’s most famous collections.

“The de Grummond collection has around 200,000 books, which someone recently did a documentary on,” Rhodes said. “It’s one of the three major libraries in the United States. Sometimes we get people from other areas besides history in here like students from the literature department here to view it. If you go to our website, you can access it through the main library website you can go to the digital collection section. There are Herbert Randall photos from the civil rights movement in the ‘60s there as well. There is a lot of stuff online so if you were searching for a specific topic you could just search it. We also have a lot of our oral history digitized there online as well as university records.”

The McCain Library is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. for student use. The special collection is housed on the third floor.