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Grant number: PG-52333-14

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Seeley G. Mudd Library, Lawrence University (Appleton, WI 54911-5690)
Jill G. Thomas (Project Director: May 2013 to present)

Preservation Assessment of Seeley G. Mudd Library Special Collections and Archives

A preservation assessment of the special collections and archives of the library at Lawrence University. The school is not only the third college founded in the Wisconsin Territory, but also among the earliest coeducational colleges in the nation-established, according to its founder, for "gratuitous advantage to Germans and Indians of both sexes." Approximately 10,000 titles and 2,000 linear feet of archival material document the history of frontier and 19th-century America, the Wisconsin Territory and state, the Civil War, and book publishing and illustration. The library's archival collections, whose highlights include pre-1900 government documents, pre-1920 serials, and the papers of Lawrence alumni, illuminate the history of the university as well as the town of Appleton, which grew up around it during the eras of frontier settlement, statehood, the Civil War, and beyond. The institution also holds the archives of the Milwaukee-Downer College, a women's college incorporated into Lawrence in 1964, which offer insights into women's education in 19th- and 20th-century Wisconsin. The rare books collection, which contains multiple editions of books by Mark Twain, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and William Dean Howells, has been used to explore the history of the book and illustration.

Lawrence University proposes to conduct a general preservation assessment of its Special Collections and Archives with the goal of defining an optimal long-term strategy for the care of the collections. Totaling approximately 10,000 titles and 2,000 linear feet of archival material, the collections are strongest in Americana of the nineteenth century; history of the Wisconsin Territory, the state of Wisconsin, the City of Appleton, and the American Civil War with a concentration in Abraham Lincoln scholarship. These collections support the University's undergraduate teaching mission and research interests in the wider community of northeastern Wisconsin. Our project goals are 1) to create policies related to collection care, repair, and duplication; 2) to evaluate current physical facilities and environmental conditions; and 3) to ensure the long-term integration of special collections preservation into our Library and University master plans under new presidential leadership.

Project fields:
U.S. History

Preservation Assistance Grants

Preservation and Access

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
2/1/2014 – 7/31/2015