Special Collections

Arthur L. Johnson African-American History Collection

The Arthur L. Johnson collection of books, videos and non-print materials reflects the history of African Americans as it relates to the civil rights movement in the United States. The purpose of the collection is to serve the teaching and research needs of students and faculty, as well as the Detroit metropolitan community. The collection began in 1993 with a donation of several print and non-print materials from Arthur L. Johnson and the establishment of the Arthur L. Johnson Endowment. Items in this collection may be located in the Online Catalog.

Curriculum Guide Collection

The Curriculum Guide Collection contains paper copies of curriculum guides from school districts throughout the United States. It is located on the fourth floor of the Purdy Library. Items in this collection are cataloged using a unique Dewey based system and are browsable in the Online Catalog by call number. Nothing has been added to this collection since the late 1970s. The Purdy/Kresge Library currently receives curriculum guides on microfiche.

Florence Nightingale Collection

The Purdy/Kresge Collection contains a collection of items owned by Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. You can also read digital copies.

Jeheskel (Hezy) Shoshani Library Endowed Collection

The Jeheskel (Hezy) Shoshani Library Endowed Collection (formerly known as the Elephant Research Foundation Library, or ERFL) is a diverse collection of information and display resources about elephants and their relatives both past and present. Items have been cataloged using the Library of Congress classification system for all adult literature and the Dewey system for the juvenile literature that comprises this collection. All ERFL resources are accessible via the Online Catalog.

This is an active collection and one that continues to grow as both current and out-of-print resources are added to it. Please note that the Elephant Research Foundation Library is intended for building use only and patrons must apply for access at one of the service desks in the Purdy/Kresge Library. Requests for interlibrary loan will be honored whenever possible. See the Jeheskel (Hezy) Shoshani Library Web site for additional information and an online bibliography.

Juvenile Collection

The Juvenile Collection is one of the largest collections of this kind in a university library. It contains over 60,000 items. The collection covers age groups from preschool to some lower level college. It includes all subject areas and has special subsections for fiction, biography, and picture easy books. This collection was started by the College of Education in the early 1940s as a resource for training teachers. It is currently located on the fourth floor of the Purdy Library.

Leonard Simons Collection of Rare Michigan History Texts

The Leonard Simons Collection of Rare Michigan History was donated by Leonard N. Simons. It consists primarily of materials on the history of the Northwest Territories, the State of Michigan, and the Detroit metropolitan area. New items are continuously added to this collection. The collection is located in Room 144 Purdy, the Leonard Simons Room. It does not circulate. The Simons room is not available for group study or practice sessions.

Kasle Collection

The Kasle Collection was established in the mid-1950s by means of a generous grant from Mr. and Mrs. Abe Kasle and Family. The collection contains materials on Judaic-Christian heritage with a special emphasis on Judaica, Hebraica, and Yiddish literature.

Individual items from this collection are shelved with like material throughout the Purdy/Kresge Library, with rare or fragile items housed in both the Purdy/Kresge Closed Collections and the vault. Other items are housed in the secure Storage area of the Adamany Undergraduate Library. All material from the Kasle Collection is clearly labeled as such in the online catalog, and can be viewed by doing a keyword search on “Kasle Collection.” Those items located in the Closed Collections, vault, or secure Storage can be requested using a form that is accessed via a link on the catalog record for each individual title.

Merril-Palmer Institute Collection

The Merrill-Palmer Institute Collection contains books and journals in the subject of childhood education, psychology and sociology. Many of its monographs are rare and some date back to the early 1900s. The collection was donated to Wayne State University by the Merrill-Palmer Institute. Items in the Merrill-Palmer Institute Collection may be located by searching the Online Catalog. Most monographs from the collection are circulating and stored in University Libraries’ Materials Storage under special accession numbers.

Mildred Jeffrey Collection of Peace and Conflict Resolution

Named for the labor-movement activist Mildred Jeffrey, this collection was donated to the WSU Libraries in 1990. Adult materials were interfiled throughout the regular collection, while children's books have been kept together on the fourth floor of the Purdy/Kresge Library. This collection focuses on the issues of international peace, conflict resolution, human rights, environmental studies, and social justice. The Jeffrey Collection is under continuing development and is currently being expanded to include non-print materials. Growth of this collection is supported by the proceeds of the Mildred Jeffrey Peace and Conflict Collection Fund. Materials in this collection may be searched in the Online Catalog.

Millicent A. Wills Collection of Urban Ethnic Materials

Begun in 1968 and dedicated in 1990 to former Detroit school teacher Millicent A. Wills, this collection consists of books that deal with urban life and ethnic diversity. Although this is a non-circulating collection, all books contained within it have been duplicated for the regular circulating juvenile books. The Wills Collection is located on the 4th floor of the Purdy Library near the juvenile collection.

Purdy/Kresge Microform Collection

The Microform Collection, which includes periodicals, newspapers, and other content in microcard, microfiche, and microfilm formats, is available on the 1st floor of Purdy and in the basement. Titles located in the closed area may be requested at the Reference desk. Subject and finding guides are available online and at the Reference Desk.

Ramsey Collection of Literature for Young People

Named for its originator, Eloise Ramsey, this is a closed collection of rare books and periodicals related to children's literature from the late 18th century to the present, and located in the Purdy/Kresge Library. The collection has been expanded over the years with award winning titles and otherwise outstanding works; whenever possible, recent acquisitions to the collection have been duplicated in the circulating juvenile collection. Books and materials in the collection are listed in the Online Catalog, but are not available for check out and MUST be used in the Purdy reference area.

To request an item, use the "Request Closed Item" link found on the right-hand side of the catalog record displayed for the material (or access the request form directly). Fill in all requested information, including Call Number as it appears in the catalog record, and check the box marked "Ramsey Collection" before submitting. Ramsey collection requests can take up to 24 hours to fulfill, and are delivered to the Purdy/Kresge Reference Desk when ready. Questions about the Ramsey Collection can be directed to Cindy Krolikowski, Special Collections Coordinator (313 577 3311).

Textbook Collection

The Textbook Collection contains items that cover all subjects. Special attention has been given to subjects taught in the Detroit Public School System. This collection is located on the fourth floor of the Purdy Library. First copies of all textbooks are non-circulating. If there are additional copies, they are usually circulating. Current materials in this collection are classified under Library of Congress call numbers and have the call number prefix "TEXT"; older items are classified under Dewey Decimal call numbers and have the call number prefix "T". Items in this collection may be located in the Online Catalog under their individual titles.

The William Alfred Boyce Storytelling Collection

The William Alfred Boyce Storytelling Collection was donated by Mrs. Iana Boyce upon the death of her husband Dr. William Boyce, a professor at Wayne State University as well as a professional storyteller (a.k.a. The Story Peddler). Boyce taught courses in Oral Interpretation of Literature, Voice and Diction, Reader's Theatre, and Storytelling - an integral part of Children's Literature. The books in this collection represent some of the best works in the world of storytelling, a tradition as old as mankind. Storytelling is not only an art, but it reveals what is most important in our lives. Read these stories aloud, share them with those around you, or study the history of storytelling through this wonderful collection located on the fourth floor of Purdy Library. Materials in this collection do not circulate.