About Our Collections

Major Collecting Areas
Special Collections actively collects materials of enduring research value in five major areas—Florida Studies; Florida Environment and Natural History;  Children’s and Young Adult Literature; LGBTQ Studies; and USF University Archives.

If you are considering a donation to Special Collections, please visit the guide for Donating Books, Journals, and other Materials to the USF Libraries – Tampa Campus.

Florida Studies Collections

The Florida Studies Collections contain monographs, maps, manuscripts, photographs, printed ephemera, oral histories, and realia relating to Florida’s history and culture, especially the Tampa Bay region and its relationship with the Caribbean. Particular strengths include Ybor City and West Tampa’s immigrant experience, cigar art and artifacts, such as original lithographers’ stones, progressive books and labels; Latin American & Caribbean studies; the Spanish American war; José Martí; and Tampa’s relationship with Cuba.

Florida Environment and Natural History Research Collections

As a strategic collecting area, Special Collections seeks Environmental and Natural History Research Collections that further understanding of environmental history of both Florida and beyond. Collections including, but not limited to, materials about the State of Florida, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico will strengthen existing holdings of Audubon Florida and the pioneering ornithologist Robert Porter Allen.

Children’s and Young Adult Literature Collections

The Children’s and Young Adult Literature Collections are rich research collections of over 25,000 volumes that support the study of American young adult and children’s literature, both historical and contemporary. Particular strengths include contemporary young adult literature, 20th-century boys’ and girls’ series books, dime novels, 19th-century literature, over 500 volumes of the works of G.A. Henty, “toy” and chapbooks, and early schoolbooks.

LGBTQ Studies Collections

The USF Libraries’ Special Collections department is determined to expand its collection of historically significant lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) materials, both in monographic and archival formats. Our focus is on collecting materials that document LGBTQ history, culture, politics, community relations, and public health. While the Tampa Bay region remains an important focus, these collections are international in scope and provide valuable research material for scholars across disciplines.

University Archives

University Archives collects, preserves, and provides access to a variety of materials that document the administrative and intellectual history of the University of South Florida. A large portion of the Archives is comprised of the working papers of the University’s presidents, Faculty Senate, and select organizational units. Equally prominent are materials that document student experiences at USF, such as official USF photographs, select recordings of WUSF public broadcasting programs on television and the radio, and publications for and by the student body, including The Oracle and theses and dissertations.  Materials in the Archives are non-circulating but are available for research by request in the Special Collections reading room. Some materials are housed off-site; please inquire about the availability of records before visiting.

The USF Archives is supported by University Policy 10-208, Archives of the University of South Florida, in its mission to collect and preserve the history of the University. USF departments, programs, and centers are encouraged to contact Special Collections to create a retention schedule for appropriate materials.


Other Collections 

Science Fiction & Fantasy Collections

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Collections include pulp magazines, several thousand iconic works from the golden age of science fiction and fantasy, and a significant collection of Spanish-language science fiction from Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America. Manuscript collections include the papers of Piers Anthony, Harry Harrison, Frederick Pohl, Mike Resnick, and Charles Sheffield.

Arts Collections

The Arts Collections encompass theater, photography and prints, cartoon art, and sheet music. The Dion Boucicault Theatre Collection is one of the largest Boucicault collections in the world. Music research collections offer the opportunity to explore over 10,000 pieces of African American, Floridian, and 19th and 20th century sheet music, early songsters and hymnals, and the collected works of Bela Bartok and USF pianist/composer Robert Helps.

Literature and Book Arts Collections

The Literature and Book Arts Collections features history of the book materials suitable for classroom instruction, including illustrative examples of the history of printing in western Europe and America; the Dobkin Collection of Americana, whose 10,000+ volumes reflect the wide range of publishing trends and reading interests in America during the 19th century; a book arts collection highlighting the fine press movement, including nearly 100 Cuban Ediciones Vigía volumes; and a range of British and American history and literature texts.

Holocaust & Genocide Studies Center Collections

The Holocaust & Genocide Studies Center Collections focus on 20th and 21st century events in Europe and Africa and includes monographs, manuscripts, photographs, maps, artwork, and other modern and contemporary materials that document genocide’s causes, public and mental health ramifications, and efforts to stop and punish responsible parties. Collection strengths include the Holocaust and the Armenian genocide.