Skip to main content


See our Contact Us page.

The unit of the library that is responsible for materials having to do with local and University history, government information, and unique materials. These include rare books, manuscripts, archives, oral history interviews, government documents, and digital collections. 

Any book or periodical that we would not be able to replace if something happened to it, generally due to the book's age, scarcity, specialness of the edition or binding, its historical interest, or monetary value.

Materials in any library that are unique and/or rare so they are made available in a special room in the library. These may include rare books or various kinds of archival collections. Some special collections are primarily available online, such as oral history interviews.

Records in any format (papers, documents, audiovisual recordings, photographs, etc)  that we preserve and make available for research because they have historical value.

University Archives serves as the collective memory of UNC Charlotte. That means we identify, preserve, and make available records that tell the history of the University's activities, decision-making, and impact on the community. Records can be anything from handwritten notes to photographs, and even websites!

A type of archives that consist of the personal papers or organizational records of individuals, families or organizations. The manuscript collections in Atkins Library cover a variety of topics, but they all have a connection to Charlotte or the surrounding region.

A recorded interview that provides an account of events in the past or someone's life experiences.

Ask for them in the Dalton Reading Room on the 10th floor of Atkins Library.

Please see our Finding Aids FAQ.

All rare books and archival materials must be used in the Dalton Reading Room on the 10th floor of the library.

Typically 10am - 5pm Monday - Friday during the academic year, but our hours vary so please consult our calendar of hours.

Contact us or stop by the Dalton Reading Room on the 10th floor of Atkins Library. For a research consultation appointment or to get help with completing an assignment using rare books or archival materials, use the Research Consultation Request Form and choose "Special Collections and University Archives" as the Subject.

Sermones de patientia in Job et de poenitentia by John Chrysostom, a Latin edition of Sermons on the Book of Job published in Nuremberg in 1471. This book is an example of incunabula (books printed before 1501, or within about 51 years of the date Johannes Gutenberg introduced the metal movable-type printing press in Europe). The book contains rubrication, which are the marks in red that were added in by hand for emphasis after the book was printed. Rubrication was a practice leftover from the manuscript era and is one of the ways in which early printed books resembled the manuscripts that came before them.


The oldest items in the library are about 4000 years old: cuneiform tablets from the Sumerian city of Ur, in what is now modern-day Iraq, circa 2112 to 2004 BC. The term cuneiform  (pronunciation) refers to the system of writing first developed by the ancient Sumerians of Mesopotamia. The writing was impressed into wet clay which was subsequently dried in the sun or baked in a kiln to harden. The tablets were donated to the library in 1987 by Professor of English Julian Mason and his wife, Elsie Mason. Dr. Mason described the tablets as follows: "One of the tiny tablets on five of its six sides has cuneiform writing, of the wedge-shaped system of marks which were impressed into soft clay with a straight length of reed, bone, or wood. Some of the cuneiform writing on the other tablet has been damaged; but that tablet is unusual in that it has been impressed with a cylinder seal, and two of the pictures of people which had been rolled onto the clay remain." Subsequent research has revealed much of the writing on the tablets can be translated as quantities of various food items.


Please see our Rare Books libguide.

We acquire rare book mainly through donations, although we do have a small amount of endowment funding we can use as well. If you are interested in making a gift that would go towards funding the purchase of rare books, please contact us. If you would like to inquire about donating books, please see our Donate Materials page.

No -- we welcome the public to use Special Collections and University Archives!

You can find out by getting a monetary appraisal. Many sellers of rare books and manuscripts provide appraisal services. To find one, try searching the database at the Antiquarian Bookseller's Association of America website or contact Armadillo Books in Chapel Hill, NC. The Appraisers Association of America and the American Society of Appraisers also have searchable databases. For more information about your old books, see the website of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the American Library Association.

You can search for a conservation professional using the Find a Professional tool at the website of the American Institute for Conservation and Foundation for Advancement in Conservation.

HFGroup, located in Greensboro, and the Northeast Document Conservation Center, located in Andover, MA, both offer these services as well.