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DeGolyer Library


Postcard image of oil derrick

The Simm's Gusher, Humble, Texas, Near Houston, postcard, A. G. Lauer (publisher), ca. 1908

With an emphasis on the humanities, business history, and the history of science and technology, the DeGolyer Library holds 140,000 rare books, over 2,500 separate manuscript collections, about 900,000 photographs, approximately 3,000 early maps, over 2,000 periodical and newspaper titles, and a sizable collection of printed ephemera.

Great strengths of the DeGolyer Library include early voyages and travels, especially those bearing on the European discovery and exploration of the New World. The collection of Western Americana is numbered among the finest in the country, and the library also has exceptionally well-developed collections in the fields of business history and transportation history, in particular the history of railroads. Our holdings in the history of science, especially geology, also have much to offer the researcher, as do our special collections in the history of art, especially in the Stanley Marcus collection. Literary collections are somewhat less well developed but include a respectable range of English and American authors and literary genres, from a 16th-century edition of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to dime novels and comic books. The DeGolyer Library is also the home of the University Archives, the official repository for SMU records of historical importance. While ably supporting the work of traditional historians and literary scholars, DeGolyer collections afford numerous opportunities for interdisciplinary research in such fields as American studies, women’s studies, popular culture, the history of photography, and the history of the book.

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