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Special Collections Research Center

Manuscripts Unit

Scope of Collections
Collecting Programs and Notable Collections
Search Tools
Origins of the Manuscripts Unit
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Scope of Collections

Edith Vanderbilt, n.d.
Edith Vanderbilt, n.d. -- In Vanderbilt Family Photographs (MC 35 Box 85)

The Manuscripts Unit's holdings focus principally on the areas of:

• Engineering and technology,
• Architecture and design,
• Textiles, and
• History of science, especially entomology, life sciences, and the history of scientific research instruments.

While these collections complement many of those found in the University Archives, they are distinct in that the Manuscripts Unit's holdings represent the activities of individuals or organizations beyond the boundary of the University, whereas the University Archives documents the activities of NCSU departments, administration, professors, and students on campus.

The Manuscripts Unit's holdings span a variety of formats, including correspondence, account books, architectural drawings, prints, and photographs. Collections also contain artifacts, and audio and video recordings.


The Manuscripts Unit's mission is to collect, arrange, preserve, and make available to NCSU students and faculty, and the community, historical and unique materials for instruction and research in support of NCSU's mission as a land grant institution.

arrow upCollecting Programs and Notable Collections

The Special Collections Research Center is actively building its collections in a few specific collecting areas, including architecture and design, engineering and technology, history of science, natural resources, textiles, and the history of NC State University. To explore these collecting areas more fully, you can follow the links below:

Collections of note in the purview of the Manuscripts Unit include the Carl A. Schenck Collection, the papers of the founder of the Biltmore School, the first American college of forestry; the Tom Regan Animal Rights Archive; the Greenways Archive; and the Zeno P. Metcalf Entomology Collection.

arrow upSearch Tools

[Carl Schenck] At Schoolhouse in Sunburst, 1911
[Carl Schenck] At Schoolhouse in Sunburst, 1911. -- In Dr. Carl Schenck Prints (MC 35 Box 73)

The Special Collections Research Center as a whole contains over 13,000 linear feet of original materials documenting the history of NCSU, the history of science, entomology, architecture and design, engineering, and a host of other subject areas. The Manuscripts Unit alone comprises 6,900 linear feet of that total. For many of these collections, the staff of the Research Center has created online inventories and guides, an increasing number of which are marked up in the evolving national and international standard for sharing information electronically about the contents of such collections, EAD (Encoded Archival Description). To explore the holdings of the Research Center, you may either do searches for specific terms or browse the collection guides by following the links immediately below:


arrow upOrigins of the Manuscripts Unit

The Manuscripts Unit was created along with the Rare Books Unit when the Special Collections Research Center was established in 1993. At the same time, the University Archives, which had been established in the 1960s but with origins dating back to 1939, was integrated into the newly formed Department. In anticipation of the new facility being planned, the Department was renamed in 2004 as the Special Collections Research Center.

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