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Special Collections: Collections

Teaching a class that would benefit from using Special Collections Materials?
decorated capital S with a face and dog in missal

Decorated Capital

title page from a book printed at the Aldine press

Q. Horati Flacca printed by the Aldine Press

title page of the Chronicle of John Harding

The ChronIcle Of Jhon Hardyng printed in 1543

series of encyclopedias published by Moreri

Le Grand Dictionaire Historique published by Moreri in 1673

book from the bishop loras collection

Scrvtinivm Sacerdotale from the Bishop Loras collection printed in 1694

House executive documents

House Executive Documents

cover of man of god by ralph wright

Set of poems published by the Stanbrook Abby Press

Collection Highlights

There are a variety of factors that determine whether materials should be included in Special Collections. The majority of our items were donated by individuals and were considered, as a whole, to be significant enough to be moved into the room, but materials from our stacks and individual donations are also considered for inclusion. Criteria used to evaluate materials for Special Collections include:

Age - Publication Dates:

  • Incunabula
  • Europe, prior to 1800
  • North American, prior to 1830 (but variable dates, moving west)
  • Iowa Imprints, prior to 1860
  • Dubuque imprints prior to 1900

Importance for printing history:

  • First appearance;
  • Fine press printing;
  • Examples of early local imprints;
  • Books printed by private presses, particularly the Torch Press of Cedar Rapids, and the Prairie Press of Muscatine and Iowa City.

Physical format:

  • Manuscript items;
  • Miniature books

Aesthetic value:

  • Bindings;
  • Fore edge paintings;
  • Illustrations, woodcuts, engravings, lithographs;
  • Artists' books;
  • Books designed as objects.

Association value:

  • Signed;
  • Manuscript notes of a significant owner;
  • Bookplates.


  • Rare or unique according to standard bibliographies;
  • Limited editions.

In gathering, organizing, and preserving the foregoing materials according to the criteria given, the literary, historical, or cultural value of these works and their relevance to the teaching programs of Loras College is a significant determinant.