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Special Collections *: Home

This is a guide to the Department of Special Collections at the University of Southern California and its holdings, including rare books and manuscripts. Useful tools for locating items and scheduling class visits are also included.

Special Collections at USC


University of Southern California
Doheny Memorial Library, 2nd floor, South Wing
3550 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0189



Special Collections is located on the second floor in the southwest wing of Doheny Memorial Library. Here you will find rare books, manuscripts, archives, and other primary research materials. To view our materials, a research account is required.  Please go to our Specialized Research Collections Request System and create an account; once an account is created, you can request materials online, schedule a visit, and order reproductions. 

Our area provides spaces where individual students, faculty, and classes may pursue intellectual exchange and quiet discovery of the library’s rare and other non-circulating materials.

The Department of Special Collections at the University of Southern California oversees rare books, manuscripts, archives, and historic photographs. It contains more than 200,000 volumes, more than 900 archival collections, and more than 2 million photographs. 

Special Collections serves as the access point for the Libraries' holdings of rare books and manuscripts, most of the University's archival collections, the Regional History Collections, the American Literature Collection, Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American and Latino Studies (Boeckmann Center for Iberian & Latin American Studies), USC's University Archives, and the California Social Welfare Archives.  [Additional archival collections can be found in the Cinematic Arts Library, East Asian Library, Music Library, Architecture and Fine Arts Library, and ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives.]

Our purpose is to collect, preserve, promote and foster access to primary source material in our main areas of strength: regional history; Lion Feuchtwanger and the the émigré experience in Southern California; Shoah Foundation video oral histories; American literature; natural history; fine printing; and USC history. We support the mission of the University by providing primary sources for faculty, graduate, and undergraduate research. In addition, we lend intellectual excitement and vitality to the campus and community through our public programming, exhibits, and work with classes and students.


This pastoral image of "Costume di Tivoli" is from a book of engravings by Bartolomeo Pinelli, Nuova raccolta di cinquanta motivi pittoreschi e costumi di Roma (1810). Photo courtesy of USC Libraries.