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Archives & Special Collections

Mission Statement

The purpose of Special Collections at SUNY Cortland is to support the College and local community by collecting, preserving, and providing access to a diverse set of original materials. These meaningful and whole collections should include unique, or intrinsic value that may foster creative, educational, or scholarly inquiry.

Background on Special Collections

The Delta Collection once served as the name for Cortland’s special collections. The Delta Collection was created in the 1960’s. It appears the initial scope for the Delta collection was very broad including some titles that were rare, deteriorating, provocative, of personal interest, or expensive. It is believed that the title of "Delta" was chosen due to the distinctive Greek symbol stamped on the book tags. During the days of card catalogs, the Greek triangle was stamped on the cards before the call number insinuating the location of the item, thus Delta was born. In 2021-2022, the Delta Collection name was retired as an all encompassing collecting body and is now referred to as special collections. These collections still contain rare and unique items. Today, special collections are organized by clear collection subjects, which appear below. Each collection is housed on the third floor of Memorial Library. The books are arranged by call number within their respective collecting body.


  • Eta Sigma Gamma Collection
    • Materials include information related to the ESG organization and their historical library.
  • Children's Literature Collection
    • The CLC consists of titles that were once housed in the Normal School, the Ella Van Hoesen Campus School, and the Teaching Materials Center (TMC). When the campus school closed in the 1980's, that library was transferred to Memorial Library, and eventually many of those titles were added to Special Collections and some include the original Normal School library stamp.
  • Literature / Poetry Collection
    • Consists of rare and unique books related to literary works. Some works are authored by Chaucer, Robert Frost, Mark Twain, and many more.
  • NYS History Collection
    • The collection includes rare and unique books related to local and state-wide history and consist of, some maps, county records, specific locations/stories, waterways, statistical records, and more.
  • World History Collection
    • Various rare and unique books related to world history, conflict, empires, culture, etc. and arranged under the Library of Congress classification section of "D"
  • History of the Americas Collection
    • Rare and unique books related to History of the Americas including United States history, Native-Americans, war/conflict, and other nations. These are primarily arranged by the Library of Congress classification sections of "E" and "F"
  • Religion / Theology Collection
    • Rare and unique books related to religious ideology, including various centuries old bibles/texts, . These are primarily arranged by the Library of Congress classification section of "B"
  • Elbert G. Hubbard Collection
    • This collection includes rare/unique books and archival materials related to Elbert Hubbard's life and contributions. Some of these materials include diary entries, journals, and tales. Additionally, it includes information on the Roycroft Movement (Arts & Crafts Movement), primarily related to east Aurora, New York and also dive into related writings and research from Kenneth Dirlam.
  • Physical Education, Recreation, and Health Collection
    • Rare and unique books related to national and local history on physical education, recreation, and health. Also included are texts related to the SUNY system on requirements and standards.
  • Delta Collection
    • The Delta Collection evolved overtime, historically, this once served as the name for all rare/unique book collections. Today Delta still exists only as an expired collecting body, yet still holding some rare/unique items that do not fit within the scope of the previously mentioned collections.

Searching Special Collections in ONESearch

Users may search the Special Collections materials using ONESearch. The PDF file is an example on how to search, narrow to special collections, then make a request to see the item in the archives reading room. Please note that materials in the Archives & Special Collections do not circulate.

If you are having any trouble browsing the collection online, please feel free to schedule an appointment.

Photograph of Special Collections bookcases on the third floor

picture of special collections bookcases.