Special Collections is the library's department for rare, valuable, and fragile materials.
Materials from this department do not check out, but we welcome you in the Special Collections Reading Room in the Main Library lobby, across from the Circulation Desk. We're open by appointment.
Kate Greenaway Almanacks are tiny illustrated calendars with important dates for the years 1883-1895. Kate Greenaway was an enormously popular British artist known for her images of idyllic childhood.
Hornbooks were used to help children learn to read, from the 1500s to the late 1800s.
A hornbook was a flat piece of wood with a handle, on which was pasted a sheet with the alphabet and short texts for the child to practice reading. In many cases, the text was a Christian prayer.
We have a beautiful example of a late 19th century hornbook in Special Collections.
MSU has an extensive collection of 19th century schoolbooks. Like the 1822 arithmetic book shown above, most of them passed through the hands of many young students over the years.
The Sliker Culinary Collection has a few examples of food advertising objects, in addition to thousands of recipe pamphlets:
Floriography or "the language of flowers" was immensely popular in the United States and Great Britain in the 1800s. This set of floral conversation cards from 1837 explains the meaning of 50 different blooms.
The Sliker Culinary Collection "Little Cookbooks" website has thousands of commercial recipe pamphlets dating back to the 1860s.
These are the cards or booklets you'll find in the grocery store advertising a particular product, like evaporated milk, Jell-o, or canned broth. Appliances like blenders or crockpots often come with a recipe pamphlet too.
We have a collection of two dozen greeting cards from World War II. These were marketed to women to send to their husbands in the armed services. All but one in the collection have actually been used, and some contain handwritten notes.
The Autoworld theme park opened in Flint in July, 1984 but closed the next year. The Ben Hamper Archive includes two magnets and a porcelain bell souvenir of the park.
Manuscript collection 391, box 2.