The Special Collections Department was established in 1968 to serve the needs of its patrons by acquiring and providing access to information about the cultural history of the Jackson Purchase area of southwestern Kentucky and northwestern Tennessee. Published and printed regional and county histories, manuscript materials, oral histories and other significantly unique items that support the curriculum of Murray State University are acquired and made available for use by students and researchers.
Rare Book Collection
The Rare Book Collection consists of printed books, monographs, pamphlets and broadsides published prior to 1860. The collection also contains significant first editions of Kentucky authors, limited editions, rare musical scores and oversized art books, books as art forms, autographed copies and other unique publications deemed rare by vitue of age and condition.
War & Diplomacy Collection
The War & Diplomacy Collection consists of published materials relating to the history of war and diplomacy in the 20th Century. The collection was donated by Forrest C. Pogue, along with his personal papers, in January of 1989. Dr. Pogue was an official United States Army historian during the Second World War, the authorized biographer of General George Marshall and the author of The Supreme Command.
Science Fiction Collection
The Science Fiction Collection consists of paperback Science Fiction magazines dating from 1929 to 1981. The collection includes over 350 issues of Amazing Stories, close to 200 issues of Fantastic magazine and complete run of Galaxy magazine containing over 250 issues. The collection was donated by Mark Robinson, a former student and faculty member of Murray State University in 1981.
Jesse Stuart Collection
The Jesse Stuart Collection contains the published works of southern Appalachia novelist and author Jesse Hilton Stuart. The collection includes numerous first editions, journals, foreign language editions, paperbacks and signed copies. Jesse Stuart donated the collection to Murray State University in 1961.