Special Collections houses published research materials including books, periodicals, maps and newspapers relating to local, regional, and state history. Main areas of focus relates to the history, culture, peoples, and resources of New Mexico, Southwest, the Borderlands, and material supporting specialized University programs.
Dave Dewitt, one of the founders of Chile Pepper Magazine and producer of the National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show donated of over 400 books and journals along with some of his papers to Archives and Special Collections. The books and journals are housed in Special Collections and include cookbooks from around the world, as well as those specializing in New Mexico Chile.
This collection represents a look into the library of James Phelps White (1856-1934), a prominent rancher and business man in the southwest, particularly in the Roswell area. A number of these titles were previously owned by the industrialist, miner, and rancher J.J. Hagerman (1838-1909). The donation consists primarily of sets of literary and historical works from the middle and late nineteenth century, such as the works of George Eliot, John Ruskin, Carlyle, Dickens, the French historian Guizot, Longfellow, and a 48-volume set of British poets.
A generous donation from a former library staff member to Special Collections helped to purchase the first books for the New Mexico Fiction Collection. Currently, there are over 1500 titles representing different genres including mysteries, science fiction, westerns, and romance set in or about New Mexico.
The Southwestern Children's Book Collection is a research collection of tales, stories, poems and songs written for children. The collection is also a treasure of artwork with many of the books illustrated, by many well-known artists including Gerald Cassidy, Lorence Bjorklund, Beatien Yazz, Harrison Begay, Conrad Buff, Fred Kabotie, and Paul Goble. The collection began when more than 1,100 books were purchased from a New Mexico bookstore in 1992.
Aimed at youthful, working-class audiences and distributed through newsstands and dry good stores, Dime Novels were a form of entertainment in the late 19th and early 20th century. Adventure stories from Buffalo Bill, Wild Bill Hickok, and Calamity Jane to the outlaws of the west, Jesse James and the Younger Gang are accessible for research or adventure. The collection also includes editions of Nick Carter's detective stories and material from the Waverly Library, which contains a significant contribution of women's dime novel romances. Additional series from publishers such as Street and Smith, Arthur Westbrook, Stagecoach Press, and Beadle and Adams are included in this collection.
The Western Women Collection, consisting of both fiction and non-fiction, focuses on the lives, accomplishments, and experiences of women whose contributions continue to influence the history and development of the West. Of particular interest are the personal stories of women told through their diaries, letters and reminiscences.