Skip to main content

Special Collections at the Zach S. Henderson Library

Zach S. Henderson Library (Statesboro Campus)

The Zach S. Henderson Library’s Special Collections was founded in the 1970’s. Housed within the department are rare books, manuscript collections, and artifacts relating to the history of the Statesboro region and Georgia Southern University. Special Collections has materials documenting the Civil War, World War II, southern railroads, early businesses, and local genealogy. Popular collections include: the Okefenokee Swamp Collection, the Bulloch County Historical Society Collection, and the Lucile Hodges Collection. Also available for research are the Marvin S. Pittman Collection and the Charles Holmes Herty Collection, to name only a few.

Special Collections is open Monday through Friday, 8:00am – 5:00pm.

If you wish to conduct research in Special Collections, please call (912) 478-1897 or email to schedule an appointment so we can be sure to have materials ready for you upon your arrival.


Wendy Harrison – Catalog Metadata Assistant

  • Email
  • Phone (912) 478-1897
  • Fax  (912) 478-0289
  • Physical Address  1400 Southern Drive, Building 208, Statesboro, GA 30458
  • Mailing Address  Zach S. Henderson Library Special Collections, P.O. Box 8074, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA 30460-8074

Special Collections is located in the Zach S. Henderson Library on the 4th floor in room 4206. Driving Directions to the Library

Items in Special Collections can be searched through the Discover@GeorgiaSouthern service or the Library catalog search boxes on the Library Home page.

In addition, Special Collections staff are scanning and archiving materials into an online archive. Search Digital Special Collections

The Zach S. Henderson Library is proud to host in its Special Collections Department the professional books, papers, and other scholarly resources of Edmund C. Short, emeritus professor of Education, The Pennsylvania State University. More about the Edmund C. Short Curriculum Studies Collection.

The Zach S. Henderson Library is proud to host in its Special Collections Department the professional papers of William H. Schubert, emeritus professor of education, University of Illinois at Chicago. More about the William H. Schubert Curriculum Studies Collection.

Researching Onsite

Rare books can be found in the library catalog. Manuscript and artifact collections can be found in the manuscript search engine. Once you have identified items that you wish to view, please schedule an appointment by calling (912) 478-1897 or emailing Items will be pulled for you and will be ready for you to view upon your arrival. Restrictions apply to the use of Special Collections materials and you will be informed of these and asked to register before you begin your research. You can also read them below.

Reference Requests

The staff of Special Collections are available for assistance with reference requests through email and also over the phone. Please allow between 24 and 48 hours to receive a complete list of materials that pertain to your query.

Reading Room Rules
  1. All Special Collections materials must be used in the reading room open Monday through Friday from 8:00am-5:00pm. Materials may not be checked out or circulated.
  2. Please be patient. If you did not make an appointment prior to your visit, the materials you are requesting must be retrieved from the library’s ARC (Automatic Retrieval Collection) located on the second floor. If you will be returning several times to complete your research, the materials you have requested will be kept out for you until you are finished.
  3. Only one box of a collection may be used at a time. Only one item or folder may be removed from a box. Replace the item or folder before removing another.
  4. Materials are arranged in a specific manner which will make your research easier. The arrangement of folders and the materials within folders must be preserved. When removing a folder from a box, use the insert provided to mark its place.
  5. Materials must be handled with care. You may be asked to put on provided cotton gloves or to wash your hands before handling materials. This is to help protect materials.
  6. Only pencils may be used for taking notes.
  7. Photocopies or may be obtained by filling out a Photocopy Request Form. Mark items in folders with page flags provided to you. Depending on the number of photocopies requested, you may be asked to wait up to 48 hours for the job to be completed. Payment must be provided in cash or by check. Special Collections staff have the right to refuse the photocopying of materials due to size or condition.
  8. Digital scans of materials may be obtained from Special Collections staff. Depending on the number of scans requested, you may be asked to wait up to 48 hours for the job to be completed. Special Collections staff have the right to refuse the scanning of materials due to size or condition.
Duplication and Costs

Up to 20% of collections materials may be duplicated. Special Collections staff have the right to refuse duplication due to size and/or the condition of materials. For photocopy jobs of less than 50 pages, the cost is $0.25 per page. For photocopy jobs of 50 or more pages, the cost is $0.50 per page. There is no charge for digital duplication. Depending on the size of the duplication job, you may be asked to wait up to 48 hours for the job to be completed. Special Collections accepts cash and checks. Checks must be made payable to Special Collections. If you are requesting photocopies through email or over the phone, we will send them once we have received your payment.

Scope of Collections

Established in the 1970’s, Special Collections serves as Georgia Southern University’s primary repository for rare, irreplaceable, unique, or otherwise valuable materials which warrant special handling or care to assure their long-term availability. Initially, Special Collections was responsible for acquiring materials that documented the history of the Statesboro, Georgia region, as well as other unique materials that support the curriculum of the University. Special Collections strives to build on current collection strengths as well as encourage new initiatives, such as the addition of University Archives to Special Collections. As of summer 2012, Special Collections also became the official repository for documenting the history of Georgia Southern.

Local History Collection

Special Collections contains a variety of published and unpublished local history materials, where “local history” is loosely defined geographically as southeast Georgia, including the Counties of Bulloch, Screven, Liberty, Candler, Tattnal, and Effingham. Items relevant to this area are selected for acquisition if they contribute to an understanding of political, social, economic, environmental, or artistic aspects of life. Because one of the main collecting interests of the Georgia Historical Society focuses on the Savannah area and Chatham County, items pertaining to this region are usually not acquired by Special Collections. The Local History Collection includes:

  • Rare books: relative to the geographic area and/or works published or printed by local presses
  • Manuscripts and personal papers
  • Oral histories
  • Photographs and slides
  • Artifacts and artwork
  • Maps
  • Ephemeral material: such as conference programs, dedications, historical society materials
Georgia Southern University Historical Collection

With the transfer of University Archives to Special Collections, materials that document the history of the University are now included in the collection scope. Special Collections does not collect noncurrent office records or function as University Records Management. Neither does it function as a museum; as such, non-textual materials (with the exception of photographs and slides) are generally not accepted. The Georgia Southern University Historical Collection includes:

  • Organization collections: records that document the function of an administrative office or student organization
  • Manuscripts and personal papers: collections that document faculty research, or the personal papers of faculty and alumni
  • Major monographic and serial publications: major university publications such as the “George-Anne,” the “Reflector,” and “The Southern Record”
  • Books: relative to the history of the university or signed publications of university faculty and alumni
  • Photographs and slides
  • Oral histories
  • Theses and dissertations: up to 2005, one bound copy of each Georgia Southern University thesis and dissertation was designated for Special Collections
  • Georgia Southern University Collection: Special Collections collects a small amount of significant ephemeral material for this collection; items chosen give an overview of University activities, show the physical, academic, or cultural growth of the University, or highlight major annual University events.
Curriculum Support Resources

Materials that do not fall within the categories of Local History or Georgia Southern University History, but that support established curricula at the University, may also be acquired and housed in Special Collections on rare occasions. Please inquire for further information about these materials.

Collection Priorities

As with the general Library Collection Development Policy, Special Collections reflects and supports the Library’s mission and the University’s goals. Special Collections supports the use of primary source materials within the Georgia Southern University curriculum and the wider community of scholars, genealogists, and local historians.

Selection Responsibility

Materials may be acquired through transfer or gift, but selection for placement in Special Collections lies with the Special Collections Catalog Metadata Librarian, often in consultation with the Coordinator of Cataloging and Metadata, the Coordinator of Collection Development, the Dean of the Library, and the Bulloch County Historical Society. These relationships figure prominently in the selection process, and offer important networks, which are essential for building relevant collections.

Collecting Guidelines

Special Collections acquires or provides access to a variety of print materials, unpublished manuscript and archival collections. Acquisitions will be evaluated by the same criteria as for other library materials; however, additional selection criteria specifically applicable to Special Collections will be considered, including but not limited to:

  • Quality of material
  • Authoritativeness
  • Circumstances of creation and ownership
  • Enduring value: evidential, informational, intrinsic
  • Cost of retention: processing, storage, preservation, technical support
  • Format appropriateness
  • Copyright and fair use
 Collection Management

The Special Collections Catalog Metadata Librarian and support staff, in consultation with liaison librarians as well as Technical Services support staff, will conduct ongoing assessments of the content of Special Collections to ensure adequate and appropriate resources to support the mission of Special Collections, the Library, and the University.

Special Collections normally acquires only one copy of a published work or printed material. Exceptions may be made for variant editions, for editions containing significant marginalia, or for highly used materials.

Special Collections materials do not circulate due to their valuable and irreplaceable nature. This is to ensure that items which cannot be easily replaced are maintained in the best possible condition.

Weeding or Re-Appraisal

Special Collections does not typically weed collections. Should Special Collections determine the necessity of re-appraising its collections, or portions thereof, the following criteria for current collecting guidelines would be used in tandem with the Library’s general criteria for evaluating material to be weeded:

Collection level: how vital is the item for Georgia Southern University coursework and research?
Intrinsic value: is the item a seminal work in its field?
Format: is the format obsolete, and can it still be used properly?
Duplication: is demand sufficient for multiple copies of the item?
Physical condition: is an item damaged in such a way that prohibits its use, and could it be reformatted?
Research value: are materials still valuable for research interests?
Uniqueness: is the item irreplaceable, unique, or otherwise valuable?
Usage: how often has the item/collection been retrieved for use in Special Collections, and can future use be anticipated?


Materials in Special Collections receive conservation/preservation treatment at the point of acquisition and are reviewed after each use for preservation concerns that may arise over time and as resources allow.

For gifts of archival collections, personal papers, or manuscript materials, please contact the Special Collections Catalog Metadata Librarian. In addition to Special Collections’ Deed of Gift Agreement, the following publications of the Society of American Archivists are helpful for understanding these types of donations:

The Marvin L. Goss Special Collections Fund (0930) supports the purchase of archival supplies for Special Collections.

Donate to the Zach S. Henderson Library

See Special Collections at Lane Library (Armstrong Campus)

Last updated: 6/12/2018