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Archives and Special Collections

An introduction to using materials in Davidson College's Archives and Special Collections.

Learn more about our department and our collections by watching this brief video!

College Archives


Founded in 1837, Davidson's evolution into a top-tier liberal arts college, its location in the American South, and its relationship to the Presbyterian Church give the College a unique place in the history of higher education. The College Archives document the college's history and activities including its church-relatedness, integration and transition to coeducation as well as its long-standing commitment to service, the centrality of an honor code and the evolution of its curriculum within the liberal arts tradition. College records are actively used by administrative departments, faculty, students, and outside researchers.

To search our collection of archival records, explore our College Archives Catalog.

Manuscript Collections


The manuscript collections supplement the archival documentation of the college's activities.  These include letters, scrapbooks, and papers recording the student experience, collections of papers documenting faculty and alumni contributions to scholarship, and collections of individuals and organizations that document the particularly close relationship between the College and town of Davidson as well as the historical character of the town.  These collections expand the research base of primary materials for curricular use and are used by students, faculty, town government staff, and outside scholars.

To browse our manuscript collections, explore our Manuscript Catalog.

Digital Collections


These collections reflect the intellectual heritage of Davidson College including student scholarship, student and college publications, faculty and staff scholarship, artifacts and special collections. Digitized materials include, The Davidsonian, Quips and Cranks, the college catalogs and more!

Explore these collections on our Digital Collections guide.

Rare Books and Special Collections


The Smith Rare Book Room houses the library's non-archival special collections, including the Cumming Map Collection, the Fugate Collection of First Editions, the Bruce Rogers Collection, the Golden Cockerel Press Collection, publications from the Iron Mountain Press, as well as other individual rare books.

Additional items of note include the Arabic Bible of Omar ibn Sayyid, cuneiforms, early American Bibles, artist's books, Diderot's Encyclopedie, as well as first editions of John Milton's Paradise Lost, Charles Darwin's The Descent of Man and Patrick Gass' journal from the Lewis and Clark expedition. 

Materials in the Rare Book Room can be searched for by using the Davidson College Library Catalog and filtering by location.

Additional Materials


Archives, Special Collections & Community has many additional materials in our collection, including audiovisual materials, photographs, artifacts, and more! To search for these types of materials, please consult our Catalogs page on our website. Here, there are individual databases for each material type. 

To search across databases, including Archives and Manuscripts, Audiovisual, Photographs, and Artifacts, use our Combined Catalog Search.

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