Special Collections Policy and Description
The McKee Library Special Collections serves as the repository for the collections that make up the Center for the Study of 19th Century America and the Southern Adventist University Archives collection. We support research by a wide range of scholars including undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and other researchers whose work relies on primary and secondary source materials including rare books, archives, media, and artifacts.
Policies and Information
Center for the Study of 19th Century America
The Center for the Study of 19th Century America defines its mission as follows: To acquire, preserve, and provide access to a wide range of primary and secondary materials in support of presenting researchers with a context to understand the times in which the Seventh-day Adventist Church began. The five collections that make up the Center for the Study of 19th Century America are:
- Thomas Memorial Collection
- This collection contains materials related to Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. Included
in the collection are books, photographs, periodicals, newsletters, and other memorabilia.
Also included in the collection are the papers of Dr. Russell C. Slater, original
collector of the Civil War material, and John W. Fling, Jr., original collector of
the Abraham Lincoln material. This material was acquired by Dr. Vernon L. Thomas,
who subsequently donated it to McKee Library in 1973. This collection is considered
- Duane and Eunice Bietz Collection
- This collection houses books by and about Mark Twain. Included in the collection are
several rare first editions, signed copies, periodicals, memorabilia, and authentic
letters written by Mark Twain. The collection was donated to McKee Library by Duane
and Eunice Bietz in 2009. Additions to this collection are only accepted from the
- Domestic Science and Cookery Collection
- This collection houses rare books on household management, etiquette, nutrition, and
cooking. For a well-rounded 19th-century context, publication dates range from 1800
to 1950. Additions to this collection come from librarian acquisitions, deaccessioned
items from the library’s general collection, or from patron donations.
- Seventh-day Adventist Heritage and Apocalyptic Studies Collection
- This collection houses books on Adventist heritage, specifically those pertaining
to the study of the books of Daniel and Revelation. The collection also features works
by prominent non-Adventist authors—Sir Isaac Newton being one example—who did significant
scholarship in this area. Included in the collection are several first-edition books
written by Ellen G. White as well as a copy of "A New Concordance of the Holy Scriptures"
by John Butterworth that belonged to Joseph Bates. Additions to this collection come
from librarian acquisitions, deaccessioned items from the library's general collection,
or from patron donations.
- Origins and Biology
- This collection houses books on Creationism and Evolution. The primary focus of the
collection is on materials that provide 19th-century creationist counter-arguments
to the Darwinian evolutionary theory. Also included in this collection are materials
that focus on the development of Darwinian thought up to the Neo-Darwinian synthesis.
Additions to this collection come from librarian acquisitions, deaccessioned items
from the library’s general collection, or from patron donations.
Southern Adventist University Publications Archives
Southern Adventist University Archives hosts a collection of digitized university publications and institutional history materials. Additions to this collection are accepted from the Alumni Relations and Administration offices and relevant patron donations.
Types of Materials
Collections are comprised of mostly books, but also present are journals, newspapers, annuals, archives, ephemeral materials, photographs, posters, memorabilia, and a variety of other original materials.
Language and Geographical Aspects
Based on the collection scope, McKee Library Special Collections collects works written in English and from the United States.
- Pre-1800: Few items in the collection were published prior to 1800 and serve to create a well-rounded historical context of the 19th century.
- 1800-1900: Most items in the collection fall within this time period.
- 1900-1950: Few items in the collection were published after 1900 and serve to create a well-rounded historical context of the influence of the 19th century in the early 20th century. It must be noted, however, that the Duane and Eunice Bietz Collection contains memorabilia as well as collection development and sales information that belong in this time period. Some items belonging to the Southern Adventist University Archive also contain items that fall within this time period.
- 1951-now: Most items in the Southern Adventist University Archive fall within this type period. Some materials belonging to the Duane and Eunice Bietz Collection also fall within this time period.
There is much work to be done to properly house and preserve the collection. Some books have been shielded with protective polyethylene covering, while others are awaiting this process. Unbound materials are kept in acid-free folders and boxes. Ideally, all items should be housed in a temperature- and humidity-controlled environment.
Transfer and Donations Guidelines
Criteria for Transfer of General Stacks Materials to Special Collections:
American books in the general collection that have been printed from to 1750-1950 are evaluated by the Special Collections librarian for transfer if their subject falls within the following:
- Household management
- Seventh-day Adventist beliefs and history
McKee Library Special Collections is pleased to accept gifts and/or memorial gifts from patrons. Gifts are gratefully accepted as long as no restriction is placed upon their use and disposition. Acceptance of gifts will be determined by the Special Collections librarian on the basis of the library’s special collections needs.
For additional information about Special Collections, please contact:
Deyse Bravo-Rivera, Library Director