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Special Collections and Archives

A research guide for the Special Collections & Archives Department from West Chester University Libraries.
Usage Policies

West Chester University students, faculty, and staff, as well as others interested in research using the West Chester University Special Collections are welcome to use the collections. Materials from Special Collections DO NOT CIRCULATE, and most materials must be used in the Special Collections Room.  Also, there may be handling and/or photocopying restrictions for some items.


The Special Collections Department creates and maintains SOME of the exhibit spaces available within the library.  If you are interested in holding an exhibit, please consult the policies and form attached below.  If you need further information, please contact the Special Collections Librarian.

Online Exhibits
West Chester University Special Collections & Archives

The Special Collections & Archives contains numerous diverse collections, including various 18th and 19th century horticultural and botanical works from the libraries of William Darlington and the Chester County Cabinet of Natural Sciences. The collection also includes rare books, including the complete five volume set of Shakespeare Folios. The Special Collections Department also houses the West Chester University Archives and several other archival collections. See the "Collections" tab at the top of this page for more information about our collections.

The primary mission of the Special Collections Department is to provide the best possible support for the educational mission of the FHG Library and West Chester University by collecting and preserving historic materials, offering useful and reliable research services, including appropriate facilities, materials, and instruction.  See West Chester University Libraries Vision, Mission, and Values statement here

Read our Collection Development policy.

Visiting Special Collections

It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you make an appointment, as meetings, teaching, and other responsibilities may require that the Librarian be away from the Special Collections Reading Room.  Please e-mail or call 610.436.3456 to make an appointment.

To request an appointment, please include:

  • Your name, address, telephone number and/or your e-mail address so the Special Collections Librarian can respond
  • The author, title, and call number of any book you would like to see, or a short description of the topic you wish to research in the book or archival collection
  • The date(s) you are available to use the collection 

If the Special collections Librarian is not available, please inquire at the FHG Library Reference Desk (E-mail:, Phone: 610.436.2453).

Subject Guide
Tara Wink
Special Collections
FHG Library Room 615
Phone: 610-436-3456
Sixth Floor Finds

This blog is meant to highlight and explain some of the rich and exciting materials from the West Chester University's Special Collections & Archives, as well as any interesting exhibits or events that involve archival or special collections material. 


If you are interested in holding an event in the Special Collections reading room (FHG 615), you must contact Library Administration at (610)436-2747 for approval and scheduling.  Approximately 20 people will fit comfortably in the room - any additional seating must be requested through the facilities department.  Multimedia equipment arrangements can be made through the IMC Help Desk at (610)436-3395. Absolutely no refreshments may be served in the room.   

West Chester University   ---    WCU Libraries  25 West Rosedale Avenue, West Chester, PA 19383  610-430-4400