The mission of the Richard L. D. and Marjorie J. Morse Department of Special Collections is to select, preserve, arrange, describe, and provide access to its rare and unique research materials. The department maintains these research materials because they are best managed separately from circulating collections due to their subject matter, rare or unique qualities, physical condition, or circumstance of their creation.

The department has specific collection strengths founded on major research and educational pursuits of university faculty and students and, with regard to records in the university archives, in accordance with state statutes. Since a primary responsibility of the department is to serve the research needs of the Kansas State University community, the department focuses on subject areas receiving sustained attention from faculty, students, and alumni, and uses a Collection Development Team to analyze the relevance of these subject areas.

The department also seeks to enhance the university’s research reputation and acquires targeted collections of national and international significance. The department maintains these collections to enhance the Libraries’ general collections, and because they are best managed separately due to their uniqueness, rarity, source, physical condition, and/or content.

Goals for Developing Collections

  • Acquire materials through records transfers, donation, and/or purchase that align with collection strengths and support the teaching, research, and service needs of faculty and students.

  • Acquire collections of national and international significance to enhance the research reputation of K-State.

  • Limit restrictions on access.

  • Ensure that appropriate professional conservation and preservation activities occur as necessary.

  • Collaborate with public services personnel to facilitate use of collections.

  • Coordinate with processing personnel to ensure acquired materials are available to researchers in a timely manner.

  • Periodically review collecting areas to determine if they are meeting the institutional teaching, research, and service missions.


We actively collect a range of materials including photographs, maps, printed books, manuscripts, personal narratives, diaries, letters, and corporate records. Special Collections reserves the right to accept donations without restrictions, to turn away gifts prior to donation, and to dispose appropriately of materials that, after receipt, are deemed unsuitable to the collection. Materials not selected for Special Collections, whether duplicates or outside the range of current policy, may be considered for addition to the Libraries’ main collection.

Have a question or comment? Please contact us at or (785) 532-7456.