Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Special Collections

General Special Collections Overview

General Special Collections includes a multidisciplinary collection of books and journals. The collection includes:

  • the office of James C. Kirkpatrick, former Missouri Secretary of State, as well as an extensive collection of his private and public materials;
  • a Historical Textbook Collection (pre-1965);
  • an international collection of speleological materials;
  • many editions of Izaak Walton's fishing treatise, The Complete Angler, including an early 1661 edition; and
  • University publications with complete sets of the University’s yearbook, The Rhetor, and newspaper, The Student/Muleskinner;
  • Theses

The majority of materials can be found in the Library's online catalog.

James C. Kirkpatrick Office and Papers

James C. Kirkpatrick had a life-long relationship with the University, starting as an undergraduate (class of 1929), serving on the Board of Regents, and becoming a Distinguished University Fellow. From his beginnings as the owner of the local newspaper to serving twenty years as Missouri’s Secretary of State, Mr. Kirkpatrick left an indelible mark not only on the University of Central Missouri, but the state of Missouri as well. Upon his retirement in 1985, Kirkpatrick began working out of a replica of his Capitol office on the first floor of the Ward Edwards Library. This office was then re-located to the second floor of the new library which was dedicated in his name on March 24, 1999. Special Collections holds an extensive collection of his public and private papers, along with many of his Irish keepsakes.

James C. Kirkpatrick smiling at his office desk


Historical Textbook Collection

Central to the University’s mission has been its history as a teacher training school, and the Historical Textbook Collection reflects this history. Covering a range of subjects, there are many illustrated historical textbooks from the early nineteenth century and into the twentieth century (pre-1965).

Speleology Collection

Since before Mark Twain used McDowell’s Cave as a setting in The Adventures  of Tom Sawyer, Missouri has been known as the “Cave State.” GSC houses a selection of Missouri speleological publications, such as the Missouri Speleological Society Liaison and Missouri Speleology. Along with a variety of international speleology newsletters and journals (acquired through an extended period of “journal exchanges”) one can also find the national publication, NSS News.

Izaak Walton and The Compleat Angler

A combination fishing treatise and philosophical study, Izaak Walton’s idyllic The Compleat Angler was first published in 1653. Filled with anecdotes about fishing and life, many editions are beautifully illustrated by artists such as Arthur Rackham. Ward Edwards, the head librarian during much of the 1930s, started the collection when he donated several of his personal editions to the library. The collection includes a selection of editions from 1661 to the present.

University Publications


Special Collections houses a complete set of the University’s yearbook, The Rhetor. Published from 1905-2000, this collection provides nearly a century of University information about students, faculty, organizations, and classes.

The Student/Muleskinner

Special Collections houses a complete run of the University’s newspaper. From the first issue of The Student to the most recent issue of The Muleskinner, each issue provides contemporary information from the time of publication.

University Materials

Undergraduate and graduate catalogs, alumni publications, operating budgets, and University histories are available for research.


The University of Central Missouri supports several graduate programs, and the library houses copies of every published theses up until the introduction of JCKL Digital Repository. Along with circulating third floor copies, General Special Collections maintains a complete set of graduate theses.