Other Collection Strengths

Notable separate collections include accounts of exploration in Africa, India, and the Middle East; 19th-century pamphlets and books published in and about Mexico, many concerning the European intervention; publications of the Positivist Church of Brazil; Tibetan and Mongolian blockprints; papyri in Greek and Latin; and 20th-century Latin American poetry. A recent addition is an extensive collection of campus humor magazines.

Other Collection Strengths

  • Dobbertin Collection of Campus Humor Magazines, a gift to Special Collections from John and Barbara Dobbertin, may be the largest collection of campus humor magazines in the United States.
  • Exploration Accounts:
    • Zaire colonial documents. MS 131. Ten boxes of pamphlets, reports, clippings, notebooks, maps, and other ephemera concerned with the colonial period of the Congo. The collection focuses on opinions of Belgian rule, works on missionary activity, dictionaries, grammars of native languages, and early works of travel in the years of the Congo Free State and the Belgian Congo. The collection spans the period from 1885 through the late 1930s, with a few later materials. Also available as microfilm 4113, Microform/Media Center in Memorial Library. Finding aid available in Special Collections.
    • French Africa. MS 232: Eighteen maps, several hundred photographs, and eleven volumes (typescript) of an official report of an exploratory expedition (1905-1907) to the Congo-Cameroon, sponsored by the French government. This is only one of only four known copies. It includes a long general description of the region, three ethnographic monographs, and separate studies on cotton growing, domestic animals and the tsetse fly. See also two albums of postcards from Belgian Congo and French Equatorial Africa (1910-25) and French African colonies (1900-1930) in MS 233 and MS 234.
    • Africa, India, Iraq, Israel. MS 119 and MS 120: Typewritten diary notes (1889-1905, 1923-1938) of Sir William Henry Himbury who explored these regions for the British Cotton Growing Association and other organizations. The reports include personal notes and photographs.
  • Grover Travel and Exploration Collection, containing more than five hundred titles from the early 17th century through the 20th century. These are first appearances in print in English of first-person accounts of travel and exploration. Nearly all contain illustrations and maps, and some feature striking decorative trade bindings. Gift of Bruce and Carol Grover. All appear in the Library Catalog with call numbers beginning CA 18040. 
  • Mexican Collection (known as the Maximilian Collection). CA 6937 – CA 7550. Over 900 pamphlets and books, mostly published 1840-1910, many about the European intervention (1861-1867). Mimeographed inventory available in Special Collections.
  • Positivist Church of Brazil. Collection L. A nearly complete set (400 titles) of the publications of the Church, officially named A Igreja e Apostolado Positivista do Brasil. The collection includes many original editions from the late 19th century. The Church, founded in 1881, was an outgrowth of the earlier Postivist Association, itself founded in 1876. The two split in 1883. The Church consists of those Postivists who accepted the doctrines of August Comte not only as a set of philosophical principles, but also as a religion. The church is still active today, and has long outlasted the European positivist movement from which it sprang. This collection provides an opportunity to study both Brazilian thought and the transfer of European culture to the Americas. Inventory available in Special Collections.
  • Tibetan and Mongolian Blockprints. Collection R Tibetan & Mongolian. A collection of 549 items covering 350 separate titles. These materials, along with some 50 Tibetan manuscripts, 125 Mongolian lamaist blockprints, and volumes in Western languages were purchased in 1962 from the estate of Prof. Ferdinand Lessing. Virtually all the works in the collection were printed in Peking during the early 20th century and represent most of the important authors in the Gelugpa tradition, that branch of Tibetan Buddhism patronized by the Ch’ing emperors. Seventy percent of the titles are devotional works, prayers, and rituals. The remainder is divided among canonical literature, biography, history, didactic works, lexicography, bibliography, and indices. See the bibliographies Mongolian blockprints (Madison: University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries, 1985) and Tibetan blockprints (Madison: University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries, 1984) compiled by Leonard Zwilling, both available in the Special Collections reference collection.
    Papyrus fragment, containing a will of the type usual in Oxyrhynchos. P.Wisc. inv. 41. Early 2nd century, C.E. [A.D.] From the Papyri Collection Department of Special Collections, Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Digitized as part of

    Papyrus fragment, containing a will of the type usual in Oxyrhynchos. P.Wisc. inv. 41. (Early) 2nd century, C.E. From the Papyrus Collection, Department of Special Collections, Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison. In this will, Taptollion bequeathes her possessions, consisting of a share in three plots of land and certain things she has inherited in part from her father, and in part from her mother, to the sons of Horos. Now available in Papyri.info.

  • Vanguard Poetry (20th-century Latin America) Collection S. About 600 booklets of Spanish poetry from the River Plata Area, many with autographs.
  • Papyrus Collection. A set of 85 documents in Greek and two (nos. 50 and 70) in Latin. Transcribed and translated into English with extensive notes by P.J. Sijpesteijn in The Wisconsin Papyri I-II: 1st century B.C. – 8th century A.D. (Leiden : E. J. Brill, 1967-1977), available in the Special Collections reference collection. Digitized as part of the Advanced Papyrological Information System (APIS), now integrated into Papyri.info (search for Collection “wisconsin” in the navigator), with full transcriptions, translations, images, and bibliographical references.