THE CURRENT SCOPE OF OUR SITE focuses on the history of Colby’s collecting of rare books and literary manuscripts from 1935 through 1975 – in essence, the formative years of our Special Collections. After 1975, there was a marked shift in both operations and collecting philosophy:
- By the mid-1970s, the Colby Library Associates – established in 1935 as a significant resource for developing library collections – faced diminished membership and activity.
- Special Collections was directed by English faculty curators until 1975, after which supervision was transferred to librarian curators.
- The librarian curators aligned Special Collections operations with those of Miller Library, strengthened ties between the collections and the college curriculum and embraced the college archives.
- And, lastly, 1975 marks the embittered death of major benefactor James Augustine Healy and the college’s late-in-coming attention to the extensive Healy Collection.
A BIT MORE ON COLBIANA
The Colbiana (college archives) Collection was first given its first, rudimentary attention in the 1930s. However, the Colbiana Collection was held separate, conceptually, from Special Collections until the 1976 integration.
That said, Colbiana threads were naturally sewn into the Special Collections tapestry early on, through Colby history-related donations and through people featured in this site: librarians, other Colby people and donors.