It is the primary purpose of the Special Collections & Archives to collect and make accessible to researchers materials relating to the history of the College, the Southern Appalachian region, and the Berea community. A secondary purpose of the department is to collect and preserve other selected historical materials that complement the department’s primary collecting focus and enhance the College’s liberal arts education. With these purposes in mind, the four published materials collections and three archival divisions listed below have been created.
Published Materials Collections
The library acquires books, pamphlets, and other printed sources dealing with Berea College and the city of Berea for inclusion in the Berea Collection. These works include college histories and biographies, works of local history, and books written or edited by Berea College faculty, staff, and alumni. Studies including or mentioning the College or the community and their associated personalities are also acquired.
The Berea College Archives acquires significant non-current institutional records that document the history and administration of Berea College, and associated non-official materials that relate to the history and activities of Berea College departments, organizations, students, faculty, and staff. Transfer of records is governed by the policy approved by the Administrative Committee in September 1987.
Historical Collections acquires materials relating to local history - the Berea Community and southern Madison County - and selected materials of general historical interest and significance. The Library does not solicit historical material of non-local or non-regional character, but it may accept such materials if they are judged to have inherent historical value and are deemed to be consistent with the College’s mission and goals.
The library acquires both newly published and out-of-print works for inclusion in the Weatherford-Hammond Mountain Collection.
This is a Comprehensive Level collection, defined as follows by the Library of Congress:
A collection which, so far as is reasonably possible, includes all significant works of recorded knowledge (publications, manuscripts, and other forms), in all applicable languages, for a necessarily defined and limited field. This level of collecting intensity is one that maintains a "special collection." The aim, if not achievement, is exhaustiveness. Older material is retained for historical research.
Selected items relating to the Northern and Central Appalachian regions and the Ozark Mountain region are acquired for comparative purposes. Titles judged to have particular interest or heavy use are purchased for the circulating collection as well.
Commercial audio and visual recordings are selectively purchased for this collection.
The Southern Appalachian Archives acquires materials documenting the history and culture of the Southern Appalachian region. Evaluating materials for possible acquisition involves consideration of a variety of factors:
Two large gifts from John A. Shedd and Henry Schwarzchild make up the core of the Abraham Lincoln Collection. The library selectively purchases recent and out-of-print scholarly works on Abraham Lincoln for this collection. Generally, second copies of recent scholarship are also purchased for the circulating collection.
The strengths of the Curio Collection include important examples of fifteenth century incunabula, early printed works, centuries-old Bibles, and first editions of American and British literature. Other important subject areas include nineteenth century anti-slavery literature, African American history, ballad books, and hymnals. Most acquisitions come from within Hutchins Library’s existing collections or by occasional gifts and purchases. In keeping with Berea’s abolitionist heritage, the library selectively purchases significant out-of-print works on abolitionism, anti-slavery, and slavery, particularly items from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.