Inquiry-based learning relies on strong collections of primary source materials. The Department of Special Collections and Archives offers students and scholars access to printed materials from the 15th century to the present, manuscript collections of individuals and organizations, and historical records of the college and local communities. Books, photographs, scrapbooks, diaries, audio visual materials, and ephemera provide rich materials for investigation.
A strong teaching collection of rare books documents the development of print culture from the birth of movable type to the present day. This collection was built on generous donations by George Pinne and Peter Ridgway Jordan. In 1997, Marie-Louise Rosenthal donated a copy of the famous Lectern Bible, a masterpiece of 20th century printing, created by Bruce Rogers. Among the treasures are first editions of Darwin, Hobbes, Dickens, and Twain, 15th century manuscript codices, several editions of Chaucer, including the famed Kelmscott Press edition, examples of emblem books, and a lovely 1567 herbal.
Grinnell College Archives
The Grinnell College Archives document the people, places, and activities that have shaped the college. Far from being dry institutional records, these materials record the dramatic social, political, and curricular changes that have affected American culture: abolition and the civil rights movement, political unrest and anti-war activism, feminism and changing gender roles, and the value of core curriculum requirements. The Archives offer a wide variety of resources to explore.
Manuscript collections provide a unique look at individuals, families, and groups through their papers, diaries, journals, photographs, correspondence, architectural records, and other materials. Among our collections are the James Norman Hall Papers, the records of the Congregational Church in Grinnell, the George Herron Papers, the John Kleinschmidt Collection of Grinnell Local History, and the Fleming Fraker Postcard Collection. Manuscript collections offer an opportunity to discover a variety of documents related to a single individual or group.
Sites of Interest
Below are links to additional resources for local and Iowa history.
- Poweshiek History Preservation Project
- Drake Community Library
- Grinnell Historical Museum
- Poweshiek County Historical and Genealogical Society
- Jasper County Historical Museum
- Iowa Heritage Digital Collections
- Iowa Women's Archives
- Herbert Hoover Presidential Library
Please use this contact form to reach the staff of the Grinnell College Libraries Special Collections and Archives.