New Exhibit: A Look at 40 Years of Special Collections, 1973-2013

A new exhibit in Special Collections & Archives explores the history of the department since its creation in 1973.

Originally a set of rare books kept in a wooden cabinet behind the library's circulation desk, Special Collections & Archives has grown to house more than 300 manuscript collections, the university archives, and a book collection of first editions and signed copies, on state and local history and by Idaho authors, and the oldest book housed by a public institutions in the state, 15th century Historia Scholastica.

A monumental event for Special Collections & Archives was the acquisition of the Frank Church collection in the 1980s. Originally at Stanford University, the collection was transferred to Boise State at the request of Church, a former Senator from Idaho.

The picture above shows the processing team in 1988 that worked to arrange the collection consisting of hundreds of boxes. The collection today has over 800 boxes making it the largest collection in Special Collections & Archives and also the one most frequently used. The exhibit also looks at the history of the library, going back to its beginnings when the university was founded in 1932. The library was first located in the college buildings in downtown Boise, then moved to the Administration building before receiving its own building in 1964.

The library at that time included a smoking room and a typing room where typewriters were available or students could bring in their own. The library was expanded and renamed Albertsons Library in 1995. As the 1965 library handbook states, “Ask questions then. It is the only way to acquire a real education. A good place to start asking questions is the library.” The exhibit will be up through December.

Julia Stringfellow,
Archivist/Librarian and Assistant Professor

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