Spotlight on Special Collections

  • Spine detail from Dana's Characteristics of volcanoes.
    May 20th, 2018

    In light of recent news re ports and striking video of an eruption from Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island, we revisit here some of our holdings about Kilauea, Hawaii, and […]

  • Detail of synagogue.
    April 17th, 2018

    In the current exhibit in Special Collections, Preserving the Word: World Religions in our Libraries, our colleagues Thomas Durkin, Todd Michelson-Ambelang, and Lisa Wettleson have highlighted many examples from the holdings of […]

  • March 12th, 2018

    Today’s Google Doodle honors Sir William Henry Perkin’s 180th birthday and the organic dye mauveine for which he is best known. We counter with a volume on natural and synthetic […]

  • Chazen Museum exhibition preparation
    February 12th, 2018

    Images from our holdings of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin figure in the exhibition at the Chazen Museum of Art curated by students in Prof. Ann Smart Martin’s introduction to […]

  • December 20th, 2017

    The Department of Special Collections will be open our normal hours (weekdays, 9 am – 5 pm) through December 22, closed December 23 through January 1, open our normal hours […]

  • December 13th, 2017

    The presentation about the Library of Stains project on December 13 prompts us to look at different sorts of stains in Special Collections — notably, stains within our chemistry holdings. These […]

  • November 22nd, 2017

    Thanksgiving this year is an apt time for us to show off a plate from volume 1 of American ornithology; or, the natural history of birds inhabiting the United States, […]

  • October 26th, 2017

    We hope you will join us on Monday, October 30, at 3 PM in Special Collections for an informal gallery talk about our exhibit “Iceland.” On hand to talk about items on display […]

  • October 9th, 2017

    Though we enjoyed summer-like weather this October weekend, the leaves are beginning to pile up around Madison, calling attention to differential patterns of leaf fall from one kind of tree […]

  • detail from Heinrich Zeisings Theatrum machinarum.
    September 1st, 2017

    Although the campus is buzzing with the excitement of football — first home game tonight — and the beginning of classes next week, we want to take this occasion to […]

  • August 20th, 2017

    Like other special collections libraries prompted by tomorrow’s solar eclipse to post images from their holdings, we weigh in with examples from, among others, our exhibits “On the Sunny Side” […]

  • August 14th, 2017

    While our Thordarson Collection is perhaps best known for its holdings of science and natural history on the one hand and Iceland on the other, as in our current exhibit, […]

  • July 26th, 2017

    We are pleased today to host participants in “Ten months that shook the world: Russia’s revolutions in a global perspective. A workshop for Wisconsin educators” and to share with them […]

  • July 12th, 2017

    The UW-Madison Libraries recently acquired a true first edition of Thoreau’s Walden, Or Life in the Woods published in 1854 by the Boston firm Ticknor & Fields. Its physical aspect […]

  • Title page vignette of Thoreau's Walden, 1st ed., Department of Special Collections, Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison
    July 12th, 2017

    To celebrate Henry David Thoreau’s 200th birthday, we offer a preview of a new acquisition, the first edition of Walden, or, Life in the woods (1854). The work, with the imprint “Boston: […]