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Research Home > Research in Review Features > FSU Special Collections, Strozier Library

Lucy Patrick, curator Special Collections, and a book from the 21-volume Description de L'Egypte, commissioned by Napolean Bonaparte and completed in 1828. Above: Among the items in the Napoleon and French Revolution Collection is this death mask of the emperor from May 1821.

A drawing from Description de L'Egypte; A Napoleaon-era almanac published in 1813. Napoleon intended "to reveal to Europe, Egypt, past and contemporary." He sent an army of artists who produced the "Description de L'Egypte, which illustrated ruins and monuments. The 21 volume collection was published between 1809 and 1828.

From the Herbal Collection, hand-painted artwork from Elizabeth, Curious Herbala published in 1737.

Two pages of a children's book that featured cut-out dolls and clothes depicting Napoleon's coronation (1804)

The Rare Book Collection features a first-edition copy of On the Origin of Species (1859) with a letter signed by Charles Darwin on the inside cover.

From the Shaw Collection, a letter and drawing taped to the inside cover of a first-edition print of The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins (1938) in which Ted Geisel reveals that he and his editor held different opinions about the use of rhymes.

Above & Below: The science fiction comics from the Robert M. Ervin Jr. Collection. The electic colection includes material from the beginning of comics in the 1920s, early science fiction from the late 1940s and counter-culture material from the 1970s.

The FSU Special Collections, Strozier Library

Napoleon and French Revolution Collection

Established in 1962 by Napoleonic scholar Donald Horward, director of the FSU Institute on Napoleon and the French Revolution, the 13,000 items includes letters, journals, diaries, memoirs and documents published since the early 1800s. Horward credited the collection when he was promoted to the rank of Commandeur de l, Ordre des Palmes Academiques by the government of France in April 2002.

The collection includes biographies, Napoleon's correspondence and those of his enemies and the illustrated reports compiled by scientists working for Napoleon in Egypt. Also included are diaries of generals and soldiers and other materials shedding light on the social and political conditions of the time. Of particular interest to many are the journals, correspondence, and related documents of General Jean Jacques Pelet (1777-1858) who wrote accounts of several of Napoleon's military campaigns.

Many of the items are not available in any other library in the United States. Patrick said it is not uncommon for researchers to say that material they couldn't find in France they found at FSU.

The Shaw Collection

John MacKay Shaw, a World War I ambulance driver and then an AT&T executive donated his childhood poetry collection to FSU in 1960. He collected poetry for most of his life and in retirement he continued adding to the FSU collection of English and American poetry from the late 18th through the early 20th century.

The unifying theme is childhood from an adult perspective. The collection is rich in literary journals, gift books and books of moral and religious instruction for children and youth. It features the early work of poets not usually associated with children, such as Charles and Mary Lamb, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edward Lear as well as Burns, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Tennyson and Longfellow.

Herbal Collection

Louise Richardson compiled 16th, 17th and 18th century works on herbals. Pharmacists, botanists, and scholars created most of the books and pamphlets about the medicinal, savory and aromatic qualities of plants. Some of the illustrations are so vivid that they appear to have a three-dimensional quality. Included in the collection is Henry Lyte's translation of Rembert Dodoens' New Herbal, or Historie of Plants (London, 1619) and John Gerard's The Herbal, or General History of Plants (London, 1636).

The Robert M. Ervin Jr. Collection

Ervin, a Tallahassee attorney, compiled and donated an extensive collection of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and comics. “I was shocked and amazed,” said library studies graduate student Matthew Moyer about his first look at the collection he processed for the library. “There is stuff from the golden age of comic books. We have the very first comic strip.”

The collection includes underground comix from the 1970s, science fiction from the 1950s, foreign language titles, classic pulps and Big Little Books. There are more than 1,200 individual titles, with most of them dating from the 1950s to the 1970s. The collection includes early works by Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and Ron L. Hubbard. It is a valuable and unique research tool for popular culture.

Florida Collection

Rare information on Florida history, environment, indigenous people, industry and government can be found here. There is an extensive file of pamphlets and newspaper clippings. Among the holdings are a narrative about a voyage to the Spanish Main and a history of Florida soldiers in the Seminole Indian, Civil and Spanish-American wars.

Claude Pepper Library Collection

A trove of the papers, photographs, recordings and memorabilia of Congressman Claude Pepper, Florida's best known Senator and Representative to Congress. The extensive collection spans the years 1910 to 1989 the year of Pepper's death.

Carothers Memorial Collection

Milton Washington Carothers served as acting president of the university in 1960 and was the first dean of the graduate school. His son, Milton S. Carothers, donated the Julie Stover and Milton Washington Carothers Collection in memory of his parents in 1982. It includes the Taverner-Tyndale Bible (1551); a first edition of the Geneva Bible (1560); and a first edition of the Bishops' Bible (1572). Other volumes include Jonathan Edwards' A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections (1821) and Richard Hooker's Works of Mr. Richard Hooker (That Learned and Judicious Divine) In Eight Books of Ecclesiastical Polity (1661). “The bible collection is quite impressive,” said Marcy North, who teaches a course on the history of books in the English department.

McGregor Collection

Here's a collection of more than 300 books on the exploration of all the Americas including the Colonial, Revolutionary and Post Revolutionary periods, travel and Native Americans.

The Night Before Christmas Collection

Louise Richardson's family donated the various editions and versions of the Clement C. Moore poem, first published in 1823, to Strozier Library in 1963. It includes finely illustrated editions by artists such as Arthur Rackham and Grandma Moses, dime-store versions, newspaper clippings about the poem, parodies and musical arrangements.

The Lois Lenski Collection

Lois Lenski, acclaimed artist and author, donated a collection of prose, poetry and plays to the library in 1958. Among the items are manuscripts, galley proofs and scrapbooks on her books Strawberry Girl for which she won a Newberry Medal and Judy's Journey a Child Study Association Award winner.

Fore-Edge Paintings Collection

The practice of decorating the fore-edge of a book with a hidden painting was popular in the late 18th century to the middle of the 19th century. The painting, usually a landscape, is visible when the pages are fanned. Included in the collection is a seven-volume set of The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth (1846) and Vaughan's Silex Scintillans: Sacred Poems and Private Ejaculations (1847).

The Scottish Collection

Holdings emphasize the history and culture of the Highlands and Islands of Western Scotland. Noteworthy volumes include Robert Burn's Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (1786) and The Baronial and Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Scotland (1845-52) illustrated by Robert William Billings.

Kelmscott Press Books Collection

This is a complete set of the 53 titles issued by the Kelmscott Press between 1891 and 1898. Most of the volumes are bound in limp vellum with ties or half Holland, with the notable exception of The Works of Chaucer, bound in three-quarter oak covers with the spine in pig skin.

Rare Books

Includes original and facsimile editions of early handwritten and printed books, private and small press books, limited edition books, maps and signed first editions. Among the collection is a signed copy of Darwin's Origin of Species and first editions of 31 Uncle Remus books written by Joel Chandler Harris.