Collection Descriptions

The Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library is the University of Michigan's primary research collection for the humanities and social sciences. It has extensive holdings in literature, history, political science, economics, among many other subjects. Its collection numbers approximately 3.5 million volumes -- this includes access to 10,000 journals, over 1,000 daily newspapers in a variety of formats, and more than 20,000 online periodicals and 500 licensed online databases. Current selection is focused on the associated disciplines of the humanities and social sciences but historical collections support scholarship campus-wide. Commonly cited collecting strengths of the Graduate Library include English and French local history; papyrology; history and culture of Germany; classical archaeology; military history; English literature; social and political movements; and international studies encompassing South Asia; Southeast Asia; the Near East; and Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia . In addition, these general stacks collections are supported by strong holdings in U.S. and foreign government publications, an outstanding collection of maps and related materials, a comprehensive collection of publications written in the language groups of East Asia, manuscripts and special collections, over 1.5 million items in microformat, and a strong collection of reference and bibliographic sources in print and machine-readable formats. Read more about the Graduate Library collection, or select a specific collection from the list below.

International Studies  |  111C North Hatcher
The International Studies Libraries comprise the Near East; Slavic, East European, and Eurasian; South Asia; and Southeast Asia Divisions. Their collections are housed in the Graduate Library. International Studies staff select and acquire materials added to the collection in vernacular languages and in Western Languages with relevant georgraphical and topical focus. In addition, all vernacular language materials receive cataloging in International Studies. Staff assist readers in finding materials and using the collections, compile bibliographies, identify print or electronic resources held elsewhere, and offer classes and informal instruction in library use as it applies to the geographical, linguistic, and subject areas covered by the International Studies Unit.

Near East Division

The Near East Division is responsible for the selection and acquisition of materials from and about the countries of the Near East and North Africa (both ancient and modern) in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Turkish, Kurdish, and the European languages, including Yiddish. In addition, the division has responsibility for Judaica and the Ancient Near East (including Assyriology, Egyptology, Northwest Semitic, Hebrew Bible, etc.).

Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Division
The Slavic and East European Division of the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library maintains one of the nation's outstanding collections of materials in all formats from and about Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Its permanent staff of three librarians and two technical library assistants helps researchers use the collection, one that is especially strong in history, political science, economics, sociology, ethnography, geography, literatures, linguistics, art history, and bibliography. The best-represented languages are Russian, Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, Polish, Armenian, and Modern Greek.

South Asia Division
As with the other Area Programs Divisions of the Graduate Library, our division is defined both geographically and culturally. Our division focuses on the following South Asia countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Tibet. In addition, we are concerned with South Asian diasporic communities, be they in the United States, Europe, Africa or elsewhere.

Southeast Asia Division
While three countries - the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia - have received the most comprehensive attention, we are also concerned with developing the collection by increasing our holdings for the other seven countries that make up the geographic region: Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Singapore, and Vietnam.

Asia Library  |  421 North Hatcher
The Asia Library supports the research and teaching of East Asian Studies in the University community. The collection of the Asia Library, mainly in Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages, is an extension of the Graduate Library's research collections for humanities and social sciences.

Stephen S. Clark Library  |  2nd Floor, South Hatcher
The Clark Library is a central reference and referral point for maps, government information and data services. It is also a campus resource center for Geographic Information Systems (GIS), providing access to software and data in support of instruction and research. The Clark Library is available to the students, faculty, and staff of the University of Michigan, and also to visitors from outside the University.

Serials & Microforms  |  2nd Floor, North Hatcher
Serials/Microforms Services contains current issues of over 6,000 domestic and international unbound journal and periodical titles written in several hundred languages and covering a broad array of subject specialties. Current issues of nearly 200 newspapers are received daily, and back issues of many newspapers are available on microfilm. Over 2,000,000 pieces of microform may be viewed and copies made using digital scanners that print on a laser printer. The Mixed Media collection contains computer disks, kits, vinyl albums, slides, and a growing number of CD ROMs. The Mixed Media items and selected microfilms are the only materials that circulate.

Special Collections  |  7th Floor, South Hatcher
The Special Collections Library holds internationally recognized collections of books, serials, ancient and modern manuscripts, posters, playbills, photographs, pamphlets, and other materials. Tracing its roots back to one of the earliest Rare Book Rooms in the United States, these collections are the primary basis of research for many scholars, both at the University of Michigan and from around the world.


  • Ancient Manuscripts and Early Printed Books

  • Literary and Dramatic Collections

Labadie Collection
The Labadie Collection was established in 1911 when Joseph Labadie, a prominent Detroit anarchist, donated his library to the University of Michigan. Although the Collection was originally concerned mainly with anarchist materials (the field in which it remains strongest), its scope was later widened considerably to include a great variety of social protest literature together with political views from both the extreme left and the extreme right. Materials are now collected from all parts of the world. In addition to anarchism, the Collection's strengths include: civil liberties (with an emphases on racial minorities), socialism, communism, colonialism and imperialism, American labor history through the 1930s, the IWW, the Spanish Civil War, sexual freedom, women's liberation, gay liberation, the underground press, and student protest.

One of the great treasures of The University of Michigan Library, and one which, unfortunately, is not too well known to faculty, students, and alumni, is the collection of papyrus manuscripts which has added materially to the University's national and international reputation. The collection comprises about seven thousand catalogued items, many of which consist of two or more pieces of separate content contained in one folder, so that the actual number of papyri which have received or still require individual publication may be estimated at around ten thousand. Of these, some two thousand represent a loan for publication from the Egyptian Department of Antiquities, as will be explained below, most of which have been returned to Cairo. The Michigan Collection, by far the largest in the United States, ranks among the great collections in the world, although it is not as large as those at Oxford, London, Vienna, and, of course Cairo. The importance of the collection is enhanced by the presence of the University's collection of ostraca, which is housed in the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology.

Social Sciences
The Special Collections Library houses rich collections of 17th-century political tracts from the Netherlands (over 4,000 titles), France (1,150 titles), and Great Britain (1,800 titles). Its strong holdings in English local history build on similar materials in the Graduate Library stacks. Other historical collections include the Dean C. Worcester Philippine Collection which consists of his personal and official correspondence as a U. S. Philippine Commissioner and Secretary of the Interior of the Islands (1899-1915) along with his working library; the William Henry Hobbs Collection on polar expeditions; the Parsons-Rau Collection on l9th-century economics; books and pamphlets from Germany's Weimar Republic and Nazi periods in the Myers Collection; rare serials and monographs from the Oneida Community; and the writings, 1905-1960, of the noted Russian economist, Wladimir S. Woytinsky.

Science & Technology
The Special Collections Library's holdings in published books in the History of Science, especially mathematics and astronomy up to 1800, are outstanding. The editions of Euclid are particularly notable. A number of particularly noteworthy examples of the library's mathematical treatises may be found described in Rare Math Books at the University of Michigan, compiled by Bowling Green State University professor of mathematics, V. Frederick Rickey. The acquisition of books recording the history of Military Art and Science in European countries up to 1800 has been strongly supported by the Stephen Spaulding Memorial Fund.

  • Power Collection for the Study of Scholarly Communication and Information Transfer

  • Transportation History Collection


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Last modified: 06/14/2018