Special Collections houses rare materials, archival materials, and unique collections that preserve our social and literary history. Collection strengths include The College Archives Collection, British and American history and literature, Theatre, Popular Culture, and Gender Studies. First editions, signed and inscribed editions, examples of fine binding and artists’ books, early imprints and primary source materials help support independent study, course work, and research. Below is a listing of available special collection.
Monday – Friday
8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Appointments are encouraged for large classes and off-campus patrons.
The Department of Special Collections Reading Room is located on level L1 of Andrews Library (Building 1 on the map) on the corner of Beall Avenue and University Street, Wooster, Ohio.
Although the library has served as a repository for archival materials for many years, an official archives was not established until Fall 1992, when the president approved a collection development policy statement that outlined the ways in which the library would begin to actively acquire, process, and preserve archival materials. This collection includes materials generated by the campus community that help to document the history of the college and its role in the surrounding community. Materials include college publications, personal narratives, memorabilia, and oral histories. The archives collects information related to the history of the buildings and grounds, college traditions, organizations, presidents, faculty, and trustees. Alumni Relations collects information related to specific students.
Building and Grounds
- The College of Wooster profile as part of the Council of Independent Colleges’ Historic Campus Architecture Project
- Digital Collection
- Building and Grounds Finder Tool
- Architects Finding Tool
- Blueprints (Unprocessed) Finding Tool
Miscellaneous files include materials related to campus traditions,committees, studentgroups, and visiting lecturers and performers.
This includes publications generated by campus departments, faculty, students, and organizations. These publications help us to document both the academic endeavors and the social events that have gone hand-in-hand since the first class entered the college in September 1870.Archival reference work almost always begins with these publications. They chronicle the liberal arts experience that is The College of Wooster.
Student publications have been a part of campus life for decades. While many publications come and go, such as “Che” and “The Shaft” — two short-lived publications of the1960s — the college yearbook, “The
Index,” and the college newspaper, “The WoosterVoice,” came into existence almost at the inception of the college.
The college alumni magazine, “Wooster,” and its precursors, including the early “Post-Graduate and Wooster Quarterly,” have long published articles on alumni activity and faculty research.
The Christine Camp Archives: Waldenside is the personal archives of Christine Camp (Class of 1951, Distinguished Alumni 1990). In the early 1950s, Camp was one of the first female intelligence officers to work for the Central Intelligence Agency. In the late 1950s, she was one of few women to work as a member of the Washington press corps. She worked on John F. Kennedy’s first presidential campaign and served as assistant to White House Press Secretary, Pierre Salinger. In the early 1970s, she worked as Deputy Press Secretary for George McGovern.
The collection includes scrapbooks, framed photographs, artwork, monographs, memorabilia, recordings, and transcripts of interviews Camp had done for the Kennedy Library. The monographs include many inscribed and signed editions from members of the Kennedy family and the administrative staff. The collection includes many impressive photographs, including a photograph of John F. Kennedy taken by Mark Shaw at the Kennedy Compound Beach in 1963. The photograph is framed and inscribed by the photographer. It was given to Camp as a Christmas gift in December 1963. A framed print, given to select members of the staff for their efforts during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, is inscribed to Camp from John F. Kennedy.
The collection also contains historical information regarding the Camp family house and farm, Waldenside, located in Red Haw, Ohio.
The Compton Collection includes clippings, correspondence, photographs, memorabilia and manuscripts of the family of Dr. Elias and Ms. Otelia Compton.
Dr. Elias Compton was appointed Alumni Professorship of Philosophy in 1908 and in 1937 the endowed chair was renamed The Compton Professorship of Philosophy in honor of Elias who had served the college from 1883-1928. Elias came to the college as an instructor of Latin and English and later went on to become the college’s first dean. In 1895-1896 he taught the college’s first course in the history and science of education.
Otelia Compton was a guiding force in her own right. She was on the board of managers of the children’s missionary homes on campus. In 1933 she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Western College for Women (Oxford, Ohio) “for achievement as wife and mother of the Comptons.” In 1939 she earned the title “American Mother” given by the Golden Rule Foundation.
Arthur H. Compton (Class of 1913) received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1927 for his work with X-rays and what later became known as “The Compton Effect.” Arthur was the director of the University of Chicago laboratory when he received an order from the President on December 6, 1941, to prepare a scientific team to develop an atomic weapon for use against the Japanese. On December 2, 1942, he was among a team of men who first witnessed a controlled nuclear reaction. He also served as chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis.
Karl T. Compton (Class of 1908 ) was president of M.I.T., as well as a well-known scientist in his own right. Wilson M. Compton (Class of 1911) was the president of Washington State University and a renowned economist and business executive for the lumber industry. Their sister, Mary Compton Rice (Class of 1911), also is included in this collection, although the bulk of materials relating to her life are included in The Rice Collection.
Many generations of the Compton family have attended the college. Members of the family have served on various campus-related committees, including the Board of Trustees.
Gillian Fynn, a Wayne County resident who was long involved in local, regional and national peace activities, donated her personal collection to the college in 1999 before moving to Oakland, California. This collection includes books, files, petitions, letters to representatives, posters, and informational flyers related to grass roots peace movements at both the local and national level.
A large portion of this collection consists of The Wayne County Peace Coalition papers. Ms. Fynn was a founding member of this local activist group. The collection includes historical statements regarding the formation and purpose of the group, by-laws, informational packets, educational tools, videos, and meeting minutes.
Besides her regional involvement, Ms. Fynn was involved in issues related to the human rights struggle in Central America and was a member of Witness for Peace. During the Contra war in 1986, she went to Nicaragua as a representative of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A./Witness for Peace mission. Some of the materials in her collection are examples of the revolutionary literature used to undermine oppressive governments in Central and South America.
Historical Presbyterian Collection and The College Archives Collection
The College of Wooster was founded in 1866 as a Presbyterian college. Until 1969 it was owned by The Synod of Ohio.
Between Fall 1870, when the college opened its doors, and 1905, at least 40 percent of all library donations were made by Presbyterian clergymen or their families. In 1892, according to early library accession ledgers, 38 percent of the library’s collection was comprised of works of religion and theology. These volumes emphasized several of the college’s ties to the Presbyterian Church and missionary work abroad, especially missionary work in Africa and Asia. Many titles from these early donations now reside in Special Collections.
Special Collections houses many early proceedings and works tied to the history of Presbyterians in Ohio, including documents related to the Free Presbyterian Church. The Free Presbyterian Church was an anti-slavery movement within the Presbyterian Church established in 1847 in Ohio under the leadership of John Rankin. Many of the materials in this collection are transcripts produced by E. B. Welsh between the 1930s and 1950s.
The College Archives Collection includes information on the college’s ties to The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), The Synod of Ohio, The Synod of the Covenant, and Westminster Presbyterian Church (Wooster, Ohio). Since it’s founding in 1866, the college has had ties to foreign and domestic missionary communities. In our buildings and grounds files, we have records related to campus missionary homes, such as “The Inky” (incubator), a building operated by the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions as a home for the sons of missionaries. In our miscellaneous files, we have correspondence between the college and the Board of Foreign Missions.
Missionary Alcove Collection
In the 1890s, a “missionary alcove” was established in the library as a pledge of support for missionary activities on campus. As a result, the department now houses quite a collection of 19th-century periodicals related to missionary work, as well as many personal collections of missionary families. Materials in this collection were identified using the 1903 booklet “Catalogue of Books in the Missionary Alcove Library of the University of Wooster.”
The Noyes Collection was donated by Henry H. Noyes in 1995. The Noyes family has long been connected to the college. Emily Noyes (Class of 1874) was the first female graduate of the college.
The collection includes the manuscript for Henry Noyes’ China Born, a book that documents his life as part of a third-generation Presbyterian missionary family. Primary source material, such as family correspondence and photographs, accompany his working notes.
The Rice Collection is the personal collection of Mary Compton Rice and her husband, Dr. C. Herbert Rice. They both dedicated their lives to work with educational missions in India. Dr. Rice served as a professor of psychology for six years at Forman Christian College in Lahore and then later served as the principal of Ewing Christian College in Allahabad. They both witnessed the upheaval when India and Pakistan were partitioned in August 1947. This collection includes scrapbooks, journals, diaries, photographs, and correspondence. The bulk of this collection is unprocessed to date. Items that have been processed are noted in the Finding Tool.
Unprocessed Missionary Collection
Most of the unprocessed missionary materials are related to the Women’s Home Missionary Society, Women’s Foreign Missionary Society, Women’s Foreign and Home Missionary Society, and additional local organizations. The collection spans the late 19th-century up through the early 20th-century.
Donated by Homer E. McMaster (Class of 1911) in 1942, this collection consists of books, pamphlets, scrapbooks, and ephemera related to Abraham Lincoln. The collection includes several years of Lincoln Lore, a weekly Lincoln newsletter.
Aimed primarily at women, this collection is a monograph collection of popular advice literature. Books cover topics from cooking and cleaning to marriage and birth control. Many of the titles are manuals that offer guidelines for self-improvement. The collection demonstrates how self-improvement advice has been redefined to meet the needs of popular culture.
The Victorian notion of the woman as the “Angel in the House” is well-represented, with many of the texts proposing that every young woman should be prepared to be the guardian of her home and to provide heaven on earth for her family. Later imprints document the change in social constructs.
As result of more women taking an active role in the work force during World War I and World War II, the texts reflect the changes made to the guidelines for becoming an “ideal woman.” Books published in the 1960s represent the explosion of the youth culture and the need for women to look and feel young to keep up with the demands of daily life.
The original collection consists of approximately 800 titles that were collected by Harrison Hayford. In 1990, his wife, Josephine Wishart Hayford (Class of 1937), donated the bulk of the collection in honor of her mother, Josephine Long Wishart, wife of President Charles F. Wishart. All titles have been catalogued and appear in the CONSORT and OhioLINK databases. Related items have been added to complement the original collection and can be searched as “Mother Home and Heaven Related Works.”
Kay Culp, a Wayne County resident, donated her personal collection to the college in December 2000 to complement the Gillian Fynn collection. This collection includes files, memorabilia, correspondence, posters, and informational flyers related to The Wayne County Peace Coalition.
The 317 titles in this collection were purchased by the college throughout the 1930s and 1940s as part of the “McGregor Plan for the Encouragement of Book Collecting by American College Libraries.” The bulk of the collection was published between 1700-1830 and provides excellent primary source material on the founding and early development of the United States. Wooster’s collection includes texts tied to discovery, including early contact with Native Americans and the settlement of New England. Works document the establishment of the colonies, the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and westward expansion.
Tracy W. McGregor (1869-1936) was an avid book collector and a great supporter of higher education. In 1925 he and his wife Katherine Whitney McGregor (1874-1954) established the McGregor Fund to support charitable works that supported his interest in higher education and her interest in social welfare. Upon Mr. McGregor’s death in 1936, his personal collection was donated to the University of Virginia. His collection reflected his interest in English and American history, with a particular focus on American history. The McGregor Plan, administered by the Committee on Americana for College Libraries of the American Historical Association, allowed colleges and universities to purchase similar texts for their own libraries.
The McMaster Library is a monograph collection that was donated by Mary A. Maxwell of Pittsburgh. The collection consists of the working library of her father, the Rev. Dr. Algernon Sidney McMaster and her uncle, the Rev. Dr. Erasmus Darwin McMaster. At the time of its donation in 1883, the collection was one of the largest single donations of books given to the University of Wooster. The collection served as a core collection of Presbyterian resources for the early campus library.
Of the original 1510 volumes, 189 volumes have been identified and have been added to Special Collections to support the history of the college and its ties to the Presbyterian Church, as well as mission work at home and abroad. Books are listed individually in the library catalog and are searchable by author, title, subject, and collection name.
Algernon Sydney (1807-1882) and Erasmus Darwin 1806-1866) were sons of the noted author and scholar the Rev. Dr. Gilbert McMaster (1778-1854), who served as the Moderator of the Synods (1811, 1827) and of the General Synod (1851).
The Nancy Herbst Sechrest Collection is a monograph collection of 204 works devoted to women. A large portion of the collection consists of biographies, memoirs, and travel journals, documenting the lives of women in the home, on the job, and at leisure.
The collection also includes works related to the social history of women, highlighting issues such as sexuality, marriage and career options. Many works are tied to domestic arts and crafts (embroidery, knitting, canework, collage) and emphasize the importance popular culture has placed on creating the “ideal home” during various periods of time in the twentieth century. (While there are 15 titles published between 1835 – 1900, the bulk of the collection represents works published throughout the twentieth century.)
Nancy Herbst Sechrest donated her personal collection to the college in 2001 knowing that this collection would complement the Josephine Long Wishart Collection: Mother, Home, and Heaven. The Sechrest collection’s emphasis on personal memoirs and biographies provides access to popular culture through women’s words and stories.
Ms. Sechrest began her early college career at Wooster (Class of 1950). She later returned to college to complete her Bachelor of Arts cum laude in Speech and English at Fairleigh Dickinson University (1966) and her Master of Library Science at Rutger’s University (1969). Currently, she resides in New Jersey and is a retired library director.
Classical Library of Jonas Notestein
Jonas O. Notestein was one of the first graduates of the college (Class of 1873) as well as one of the first professors. He was professor of Greek and Latin from 1873-1928 and this collection consists of his working library.
English Historical Library of Wallace Notestein
Wallace Notestein (Class of 1900) was an internationally known scholar of British literature and social history. The collection reflects his many interests, with more than 1,200 imprints from the 17th century.
Many of the materials in the collection served as primary source material for Notestein’s own research. Two of the more outstanding pieces are early witchcraft tracts that Notestein used to write his work, “A History of Witchcraft in England from 1558 to 1718.” Notestein’s copy of “The Severall Factes of Witch-crafte Aprooved and Laid to the Charge of Margaret Harkett of the Towne of Stanmore in the Countie of Middlesex” (1585) is thought to be the only copy in existence. The second tract, “A Detection of Damnable Drifts, Practized by Three Witches” (1579) [imperfect title page], is one of two known copies, with the other being held by the British Museum.
Also included in the collection are a collection of “Fast-Day Sermons” (1640-1647) and such sets as “The Harleian Miscellany,” “A Collection of the State Papers of John Thurloe,” publications of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, and publications printed for the Camden Society.
The Notestein Family Collection
This collection includes correspondence, manuscripts, memorabilia, photographs and publications of the Jonas O. Notestein family. The collection documents the lives of a scholarly American family living both here and abroad during the first half of the twentieth century. The correspondence spans both world wars.
Daughter Lucy Lilian Notestein (Class of 1911) is the author of “Wooster of the Middle West,” the best history of the College of Wooster written to date. The collection includes her notes for the history, as well as several unpublished manuscripts. Son Frank B. Notestein (Class of 1908) was an internationally known geologist for the petroleum industry.
The Department of Special Collections has a small collection of oral history tapes. Most of the tapes document the history of the college. These tapes discuss campus administrations, faculty, students, and traditions. They also document the programs that have defined the college, including the First-Year Seminar program and the Independent Study program. Some of the tapes appear to be part of a project that Kenneth Goings, assistant professor of History (1976-1988), began in the early 1980s. These tapes complement the College Archives Collection. The department also has a small collection of tapes that document the lives of missionaries who did missionary work in the Middle East and Africa during the first half of the twentieth century. These tapes appear to be a part of a project initiated by Judy Simmons, who interviews the missionary workers. This collection complements the Missionary Collections.
Since the time of the inventory project (Summer 1999), the department has initiated an oral history program to further document our campus history. Students are encouraged to be part of this program via the independent study process, tutorials, and course requirements.
All tapes are catalogued on CONSORT as part of the Oral History Collection. Copies of the oral history tapes are available for listening in the Media Library. A finding tool is available for consultation in the Media Library and in Special Collections. Each entry includes available biographical information on the interviewee, a brief description of each interview, and an index of each interview by five-minute intervals.
In 1959, Paul O. Peters announced that he would donate his library of 90,000 books, documents, and pamphlets to The College of Wooster Library. A small portion of this collection related to conservative and right-wing elements present in 20th-century American culture is housed in Special Collections.
Most of the materials in this collection are part of Peters’ working library from the 1940s and the 1950s. The collection reflects his political interests, documenting his unsuccessful candidacy for the Republican nomination for United States Senator from Missouri in 1940 through to his work as a speech writer for the Republican National Committee. In 1949 he began the Washington News Bulletin and served as editor and publisher until his death nearly 11 years later.
The collection includes several periodical runs, including “Freedom and Union,” “Prevent World War III,” “The Cross and the Flag,” and “Southern Conservative.” A large portion of the collection is devoted to materials promoting states’ rights, racism, and anti-Semitism. Also included in the collection are the original first drafts and transcripts of radio commentaries presented by Willis J. Ballinger in 1952 as broadcast over the Liberty network. Approximately 80 right-wing groups are included in an “organization file,” that covers groups such as the America First Committee (Washington, DC) and Committee for Defense of the Constitution (New York, NY).
A small portion of the collection is devoted to left-wing materials gathered by Peters so that he might better understand his opposition.
This collection reflects work done by The College of Wooster at the archaeological site at the ancient city of Pella, Jordan, 1967-1985. Special Collections houses archival materials (e.g., field notes, documents, slides, correspondence, photographs, clippings and publications) tied to Wooster’s involvement in the excavations done at the site. While Special Collections houses the paper documents, patrons wishing to view artifacts should contact the program in Archaeology and The College of Wooster Art Museum.
The Robert D. Davis World War II Collection is a collection of correspondence about, from, and to Robert D. Davis (June 2, 1922 – March 3, 2012)
Davis served as a rifleman and interpreter during World War II. These materials provide a soldier’s personal insights and reflections regarding the war. Davis went on to make a full-time career of military service. His boyhood diary and the letters trace the trajectory of his path from a naive young man through his time in the service and his work as a diplomat. At the end of his career, he moved to Wooster where, as a member of the campus and the local community, he was involved with the Great Decisions Lecture Series.
All digitized materials were property of the estate of Robert D. Davis. His daughter, Ruth Brown (donor), gave permission for the materials to be digitized and used for research purposes. They are available as open access. Special Collections received this collection in February 2013.
During the year 1929 the Intercollegiate Prohibition Association in cooperation with the World League Against Alcoholism and the American Issue Publishing Company collaborated in bringing together a set of books, pamphlets and leaflets having a value of $100, which through and in the name of the Intercollegiate Prohibition Association is being furnished to 400 colleges and universities throughout the United States.
This literature covers every conceivable phase of the prohibition and temperance questions, not only in the United States but throughout the world. It represents long years of research. It represents the best constructive thought of scientists, economists, social welfare experts and temperance leaders of many lands and will furnish for any earnest student a veritable mine of information on the origin, the progress and the trend of the temperance reform movement both at home and abroad.
The cooperating agencies above named recognize the strategic importance of reaching the million students of the United States with the facts about the development of the alcoholic beverage liquor traffic and the problems arising there from, and through this library set seek to furnish them with attractive and reliable sources of information. It is the purpose to extend this plan of furnishing literature to the remaining college and university libraries in the United States as rapidly as possible during the year 1930, and from time to time to furnish additional material so that these libraries may be kept up-to-date on the alcohol question. (Introduction, “Temperance Library for Colleges and Universities.”)
All titles have been catalogued and appear in the CONSORT and OhioLINK databases. Related items have been added to complement the original collection and can be searched as “Temperance Library for Colleges and Universities Related Works.”
The Dr. Donald T. Shanower Collection
Donald T. Shanower, instructor of Speech 1949-1953, donated his personal playbill collection in 2006. The collection covers productions from 1958-2005 staged in Canada, the United States, England, Scotland, and Ireland.
The Gregg D. Wolfe Theatre Collection
Gregg D. Wolfe, a native of Columbus, Ohio, was known as “Ohio’s champion first-nighter.” He attended more than 7,300 performances, ranging from Shakespeare and opera to vaudeville and burlesque.
His personal collection consists of books, photographs, playbills, and other materials relating to American and British theatre at the turn of the century. Programs, reviews, and other memorabilia, dating 1884-1946, constitute the most distinctive part of the collection and provide background for the study of regional theatre. An index and database provide easy access to the playbill collection. The book collection includes many first editions and association volumes, all of which have been catalogued and appear in the CONSORT and OhioLINK databases.
New York City Playbills Collection
Personal playbill collection donated by Ruth Savord (no known information) in December 1959.The bulk of the collection consists of playbills from the 1930s and 1940s covering performances staged in New York City. However, there are a few playbills from the 1920s. The collection also includes a small number of newspaper clippings about John Barrymore.
The W. Stanley Schutz Theatre Collection (The College of Wooster productions)
The W. Stanley Schutz Theatre Collection documents theatre productions at The College of Wooster. In 1990, Dr. Schutz, former chair of the Theatre Department, donated his collection of files, scrapbooks, photographs, playbills, prop books, and notebooks. The collection includes coverage of many guest performances, such as the May 1950 production of Our Town, starring Thornton Wilder as Stage Manager.
As requested by Dr. Schutz, since 1990 the library has continued to collect and document our campus production history.
Search the Collection
The Twentieth-Century International Relations Collection is an accumulation of the college’s vertical files from the first half of the century. Approximately 2,800 pieces, ranging from postcards and pamphlets to posters, help document world politics and American involvement, with particular emphasis given to the years 1914-1950.
Highlights from this collection include a large collection of propaganda posters published in the United States during World War II, as well as several pamphlets published by the Nazi Party in Germany. The collection includes “Facts in Review,” a National Socialist publication that represents propaganda disseminated in the United States prior to July 1941, and The Greater East Asia Joint Declaration, a publication that represents an effort to unite Asian nationalists in hopes of keeping the United States out of the military conflicts in the Pacific.