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Stony Brook University
Stony Brook University Stony Brook University University Libraries

Stony Brook University Libraries is the largest academic research library system on Long Island and maintains membership in the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), a non-profit consortium of 126 distinguished libraries in North America. The collections and services offered by the libraries are central to the academic success of students and facilitate the scholarship produced by world-renowned faculty.

Illuminated Manuscript
Illuminated Manuscript, 1450

The university's collections of rare maps, atlases, manuscripts, and books comprise the largest repository of archival materials on Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk counties). Special Collections and University Archives is the steward of these unique primary source materials, which encompass more than 25,000 volumes, 350 collections, and 1,000 maps that document the disciplines of art, the humanities, technology, and regional history.

Unique research materials are a rich source of scholarship. The Senator Jacob K. Javits Collection contains nearly two million separate items that document modern United States history and the career of New York’s longest serving state senator. The W.B. Yeats Collection is the most extensive collection of the famed Irish poet and author’s manuscripts housed outside of Ireland. In 2002, the department became the official repository for the international organization Environmental Defense Fund, whose efforts in 1967 led to the nationwide ban on DDT and the birth of modern environmental law.

Special Collections was honored in 2009 by the New York Board of Regents and New York State Archives, when it was awarded the “Annual Archives Award for Program Excellence in a Historical Records Repository.” In August 2012, the department’s guide to digital Long Island documents and books was lauded by The Scout Report, a division of the National Science Foundation’s National Science Digital Library (NSDL) Project. 


Special Collections and University Archives at Stony Brook University acquire, organize, preserve, and provide access to primary and secondary source material in a variety of formats to support the educational, research, and entrepreneurial endeavors of Stony Brook University. Access and services are extended to neighboring communities, to the wider geographic region, and to remote users to advance the university's leadership role in scholarship, economic growth, technology, and culture.

The University Archives include material created by the University that is of enduring or historical value. It is also the official repository for master theses and doctoral dissertations in print format (through May 2007) and the Stony Brook Authors and Editors Collection.


Special Collections opened its doors in 1969, when Roger H. Guedalla and George Quasha of the Stony Brook University's Department of English purchased a modern literature collection that was comprised of books and manuscripts by the extraordinary group of authors and poets who had been involved with the Black Mountain College in North Carolina. The manuscripts are now housed within the Historic and Literary Manuscripts Collection and include original materials by Robert Creeley, Charles Olson, and Fielding Dawson. Special Collections and University Archives is the recipient of the 2009 New York Board of Regents and New York State Archives "Annual Archives Award for Program Excellence in a Historical Records Repository."


Special Collections are library and archival materials in any format (e.g., rare books, manuscripts, photographs, institutional archives) that are generally characterized by their artifactual or monetary value, physical format, uniqueness or rarity, and/or an institutional commitment to long-term preservation and access. They generally are housed in a separate unit with specialized security and user services (source: Taking Our Pulse: The OCLC Research Survey of Special Collections and Archives, OCLC, 2010).


1. Materials created or received by a person, family, or organization, public or private, in the conduct of their affairs and preserved because of the enduring value contained in the information they contain or as evidence of the functions and responsibilities of their creator, especially those materials maintained using the principles of provenance, original order, and collective control; permanent records.

2. The division within an organization responsible for maintaining the organization's records of enduring value.

3. An organization that collects the records of individuals, families, or other organizations; a collecting archives.

4. The professional discipline of administering such collections and organizations.

5. The building (or portion thereof) housing archival collections.

6. A published collection of scholarly papers, especially as a periodical.

A finding aid is: a tool that facilitates discovery of information within a collection of records; and a description of records that gives the repository physical and intellectual control over the materials and that assists users to gain access to and understand the materials. (Source: Society of American Archivists)


The collection development strategy defines the scope and strengths of the collection, methods of acquisition, procedures governing access, and loan and exhibition policies. The emergency response manual outlines the policies and procedures adopted by the University Libraries to manage environmental threats to the collections.

Images featured on homepage:

1-Students at the State University College on Long Island, Planting Fields, Oyster Bay, New York (first campus), circa 1957. 

2-Letter, George Washington to Benjamin Tallmadge, date 24 September 1779.

3-Books in Special Collections:
(1) Rossetti, Christina Georgina. Monna Innominata; Sonnets and Songs. Portland, Me: T.B. Mosher, 1899.
(2) Kipling, Rudyard. The Janeites. New York: International Magazine Co, 1924.
(3) Wilde, Oscar, and Constance Mary Wilde. Oscariana. London: A.L. Humphreys, 1910.
(4) Hamady, Walter, Roy R. Behrens, and Martha Glowacki. Juxtamorphing (the) Space (in) Works by Walter Samuel Haatoum Hamady: Being a Series of Autodidactic Tutorials Arranging Certain Things in a Certain Space with a Certain Aesthetic End in Mind As in a Timeline of Sorts Incorporating Books, Collage and Assemblage : on Display at the James Watrous Gallery of the Wisconsin Academy, 7 October Through November 20, 2005. Madison, Wis: James Watrous Gallery, Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, 2005.

4-First graduating class at the State University College on Long Island, Planting Fields, New York (first campus), 1961. 

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