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About Special Collections & Archives

Information about Berea College Special Collections & Archives

Berea College Special Collections materials fall within these thematic categories:


The Berea Collection

The Berea Collection brings together books, pamphlets and other printed sources dealing with the college and the Berea Community. In it are college histories and biographies, works of local history, and books written or edited by Berea faculty, staff, and alumni. The library seeks to acquire all such works for the collection. Although most additions to the Berea Collection are gifts to the College, a modest fund exists for the purchase of Berea-related materials.  The Berea Collection contains over 2500 volumes. This collection reflects Berea's strong sense of its own institutional history, as well as the associational value of works authored by Berea faculty, staff, and alumni.

Weatherford-Hammond Mountain Collection

Started in 1914 as a separate collection in the Berea College Library and given the name Weatherford-Hammond in 1964, Berea's Mountain Collection of published works on the Appalachian region is a resource of great importance and significance. A collection that cannot be easily duplicated, it is the pioneer or parent collection of printed sources and research materials on Southern Appalachia.

The collection was named after W.D Weatherford, Sr., who served Berea College for 50 years as a trustee, and his friend and co-sponsor William A. Hammond, a businessman from Xenia, Ohio. Through the endowed fund, which they established in 1964, the library seeks to acquire for this collection books and other printed materials on all aspects of the history and culture of the region, including both newly published and available out-of-print works. Today there are over 21,000 volumes in the collection.

The Weatherford-Hammond Mountain Collection is the oldest Appalachian collection in the world, and represents nearly a century of the College's efforts to collect and preserve Appalachian materials.

Curio (Rare Book) Collection

Berea's Rare Book Collection consists of over 12,000 valuable books dating from the earliest period of printing in the 15th century to important first editions and beautifully illustrated books of the 20th century. Most of the important rare books have been gifts from friends of the College.

The collection is distinguished for its centuries-old Bible, its first editions in English and American Literature, ballad books, hymnals, and 19th century works on the anti-slavery movement and Black history. The rare books, used in library displays and in teaching, provide a great depth and richness to the holdings of Hutchins Library.

Berea's rare and antiquarian books are a great resource for a college with a strong liberal arts program. As a part of the record of civilization, they delight and instruct in various ways. There is no substitute, for example, for turning the pages of the first edition of the King James Bible (1611), or holding in one's hand a Shakespeare folio. Rare books stimulate the imagination and foster an appreciation for the great tradition of the written word.

The library does not engage in an active collecting program for the rare book collection, either through gift solicitation or purchase.

Shedd/Schwarzschild Abraham Lincoln Collection 

Berea’s collection of works on Abraham Lincoln began with a gift to the Library in 1935 of John A. Shedd Lincoln collection. Shedd, a New York attorney, was an avid collector of Lincolniana, and his estate bequeathed his collection to Berea College. In 2000, the Lincoln Collection of Henry Schwarzschild, a well-known civil-rights attorney, was added to the holdings in Special Collections. Schwarzschild’s important collection of printed works, government publications, and other contemporary pieces came to the College through the generosity of Berea alumna, Katherine Jett Schwarzschild, ’46.

The Shedd/Schwarzschild Abraham Lincoln Collection consists of over 1800 books and other materials. Included are Eastman Johnson’s famous picture of “The Boy Lincoln,” a gift to the College in 1908; two handsome bronze plaques; and an original Lincoln letter. An Abraham Lincoln Collection in Historical Collections includes numerous photographs, printed memorabilia, and other period pieces supplementing the book collection. New books about Lincoln are regularly added to the collection.


All Special Collections published works can be located by searching the Hutchins Library Catalog.