Archives Resources

Rare and Unusual Publications

The University Archives and Area Research Center's "Special Collections" include many rare and/or unusual publications that you might not expect to find in a small university in northwest Wisconsin.  Highlighted below are just a few examples to give you a taste of what is available.  They are arranged by date of publication.  

We have started with just a few; more will be added as we have time.

Common Sense, 1776 

Common Sense, written by Thomas Paine, was first published anonymously on January 10, 1776. The UWRF Archives has in its Special Collections a copy of Common Sense published February 14, 1776. The "Author" (still not listing his name) writes in a post script to the Introduction that "the publication of this new Edition hath been delayed, with a View of taking notice (had is been neceffary) of any Attempt to refute the Doctrine of Independance [sic]." Note the use of the double ff instead of ss in the word necessary. This was the common usage at the time.

 Night Before Christmas, 1883

The Night Before Christmas, written by Clement Clarke Moore, was first published anonymously in 1823. The copy in the UWRF Archives Special Collections was published sixty years later, in 1883. The poem is largely responsible for the mid-19th century concept of Santa Claus that was the basis for the Santa Claus we know today. The illustrations in our edition are by a variety of magazine and book illustrators: William T. Smedley, Frederic B. Schell, Henry R. Poore, and Alfred Fredericks.

Die Olympischen Spiele 1936

Die Olympischen spiele 1936 in Berlin und Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a 2-volume set published after the famous 1936 Olympics sponsored by Germany's ruling Nazi Party. German Chancellor Adolph Hitler used the games as an opportunity to promote his government and ideals of racial supremacy and the volumes put a positive spin the games. There are plenty of photographs, tipped-in after the rest of the book was printed.

Many countries threatened to boycott the games if their Jewish and Black athletes were not allowed to compete. The United States ended up sending 19 Black athletes to the games, including many track and field (called "Athletics" then) athletes who, like Jesse Owens, took home medals.

 Patriotic Songs of the KKK

Patriotic Songs of the Ku Klux Klan came to the UWRF Archives as a result of research done in the Archives (see John A. Turcheneske, Jr.'s M.A. thesis, "The Ku Klux Klan in Northwestern Wisconsin"). Patriotic Songs features such songs as "Klux Wisconsin" and "Hail! Hail! the Klan's All Here." It is one of several KKK pamphlets and books from the 1920s in the Archives. Digital copies can be found in The Ku Klux Klan in Northwestern Wisconsin collection in the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.

 Mayflies of the Driftless Region, 2005

Mayflies of the Driftless Region contains thirteen wood engravings in color, by artist Gaylord Schanilec, of newly-hatched ephermerids that he collected, and described by entomologist Clarke Garry (UWRF professor emeritus). This limited edition of the finely printed book (number 93 of 400 printed/300 bound in this fashion) is quarter bound in chestnut Morocco (goat) leather and textured olive board sides with an inset engraving in silver and gold. Schanilec says in the Introduction that "to be included in this book, a mayfly had to be of importance to fly fishers—and I had to catch one."


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