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Special Collections


Archives and Special Collections acquires, appraises, preserves, organizes, describes, and makes available a variety of collections of importance to the University of Windsor and the local area. The local area includes, but is not confined to, Essex, Kent, and Lambton counties of Ontario. Materials in the collection are made available to patrons exclusively in the Archives, Rare Books and Special Collections reading room.

Rare Books

The Rare Books collection consists of published works that have been carefully selected because of their literary merit, historical significance, value, medium, scarcity, or fragility. Most Rare Books items are monographs or serials (either single issues or bound volumes); however, the collection includes a small number of other types of material, such as sound recordings, videorecordings, and microforms. Items in the Rare Books Collection are listed in the Library Catalogue. Rare Books materials are acquired by purchase, donation, or by transfer from the Library’s other collections.

Rare Books Criteria for Selection

  1. Works published by local authors, by local publishers, and about the local area.
  2. Canadian works published before 1900.
  3. American works published before 1850.
  4. European works published before 1800.
  5. First editions of significant publications.
  6. Publications of aesthetic importance, including fine-printing, unique illustrations, or fine bindings.
  7. Limited editions of value.
  8. Fine facsimiles of important publications.
  9. Special Press publications.

Special Collections

Special Collections consists of a wide range of normally unpublished materials of historic or cultural importance to the University of Windsor and the local community. Unpublished materials may include personal papers, correspondence, legal documents, journals, diaries, photographs, notes, maps, and original artwork. Normally, objects or artifacts are out of scope. Items in Special Collections are catalogued using the Rules of Archival Description. Special Collections materials are acquired by purchase or donation.

Rare Books and Special Collections Areas of Subject Strength

  1. History of the University of Windsor and Assumption College.
  2. History and culture of the local area, with a focus on manufacturing, agriculture, and labour.
  3. Anti-slavery, slavery and the Underground Railway
  4. History of the automotive industry.
  5. History and geography of Canada.
  6. Katherine Mansfield.


Special Collections is located in Room G-100 of the Leddy Library Building, at the University of Windsor.


The contents of the Rare Books collection are listed in the Library Catalogue.

Publicly available holdings in Special Collections are listed in the Short Register, which can be downloaded from the Archives main page.


519-253-3000 ext. 3851
Main building basement, room G-100