Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC), located on Terrell Library’s ground floor, acquires and preserves rare and unique items related to Washington State University and the Pacific Northwest.
We have historical records and documents, such as manuscripts, photographs, audio and video tapes, films, books, maps and other printed and published materials.
The university archives include WSU theses and dissertations, yearbooks, student newspapers, and other documents from WSU presidents, employees, departments, and colleges.
Hours: We are open Monday–Friday, 8:30-4:30.
P.O. Box 645610
Pullman, WA 99164-5610
- Dr. Trevor James Bond – Associate Dean for Digital Initiatives and Special Collections
- Greg Matthews – Special Collections Librarian
- Lotus Norton-Wisla – Community Archivist
- Mark O’English – University Archivist
- Gayle O’Hara – Manuscripts Librarian
- Linnea Rash – Conservator
- Talea Anderson – Scholarly Communication Librarian
- Suzanne James-Bacon – Electronic Resources and MASC Technical Coordinator
- Julie King – Rare Books Cataloger
History of MASC
From being envisioned in 1949 to the formal establishment of the unit in 1977, MASC has had a long history at WSU. In 1955, the Holland Library Committee recommended and formed the creation of the “Manuscripts-Archives Department,” on the first floor of Holland Library.
The Manuscripts-Archives collection originally consisted of approximately 150,000 bound and unbound pieces: including manuscripts, account books, various university records, historical maps and photographs. Hundreds of thousands of these items were accessioned in bulk. Manuscripts-Archives acquired these items from private sources, college, federal and state agencies, gifts, and by purchase through the Friends of the Library as well as through appropriations from within the State College of Washington.
The bound printed collections, consisting of roughly 10,000 volumes, included 18th and 19th century botanical books, and a small number of incunabules and Aldines.
Another notable early collection in the Manuscripts-Archives Department consists of Hispanic materials, chiefly books, periodicals, and manuscripts relating to the history and development of Hispanic America, especially Mexico.
In the 1950s and 1960s the Manuscripts-Archives Department continued to acquire materials that provided curricular support for the teaching and research mission of Washington State College. They emphasized resources relating to the history and development of the Pacific Northwest and the state of Washington.
By the mid-1960s the Department featured several categories of material:
- Miscellaneous personal and family documents, including diaries, letters, and notebooks
- Political papers of individuals connected with Washington State
- Business, industrial and agricultural organizations
- Papers relating to specific subject interests, including the fur trade, construction of dams, Nez Perce Indians
- General collections relating to the Northwest
- Literary collections of Northwest authors
- Government documents (local, state, and national) relating to the Northwest
- Papers of Washington State University Presidents and other university officials and departments
During the 1960s a “Humanities Special Collections” division was formed in Holland Library but it was not an integral part of the Manuscripts-Archives Department. The collecting policies for this division were strictly focused on literature and the humanities, with an emphasis on acquiring materials that promoted academic research.
By the mid-1970s the Humanities Special Collections division had accumulated valuable printed and manuscript collections, including a substantial amount of unpublished correspondence. The peculiarity of this arrangement within Holland Library — having two separate groups of manuscript collections — meant that discrete units in the same library system were responsible for administering collections of primary source material. The Humanities Special Collections division evolved and expanded its collecting scope. From initially acquiring chiefly printed material, e.g., collecting the literary works and 20th century British authors, it grew to include one of the most complete collections of original Edith Sitwell correspondence held in an archival repository. The librarian in charge of the Humanities Special Collections division was responsible for collecting resources to support the curriculum, especially within the English department. With the acquisition of the personal library of Leonard and Virginia Woolf in 1969, and following other purchases which augmented this core collection of books, the Humanities and Special Collections division expanded considerably.
High points in this body of literary collections include titles by and about:
- Virginia and Leonard Woolf
- Members of the “Bloomsbury Group”
- British and American women authors
- 20th century British authors
And among non-literary fields, the Humanities and Special Collections division acquired an extensive collection on fishing and angling (built on a collection of rare fishing books that was donated by a Washington State University alumnus).
Since it has always been a non-circulating collection with special requirements for preservation and use, storage, and physical and environmental security, the unit warranted a new facility. The presence of two “special collections” units in the same library system made it difficult to justify continuing their administrative separation; in part, these units were merged because of insufficient space in Holland Library and because of administrative redundancy.
In 1974, at the request of the Director of Libraries, an ad hoc task force was formed to undertake an ARL Management Review and Analysis Program (MRAP) in order to evaluate this situation. In their detailed final report, MRAP outlined various recommendations; among these one that would affect the future of the two “special collections divisions” in Holland Library. Their specific recommendation read: “That the Special Collections unit of Humanities Library be combined with Manuscripts-Archives under one administrative head and be physically integrated no later than 1977 when [the] Holland Library building is remodeled.”
When the Science Library was built in 1977, and following the removal of the science collections from Holland Library into the Owen Science and Engineering Library, the Humanities Special Collections and Manuscripts-Archives divisions were merged into one physical and administrative unit.
Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections (MASC) slowly emerged as a well-known and highly respected resource for scholars. When the Holland Library addition (later named the Terrell Library) was built in 1994, MASC moved into new elegant quarters on the ground floor of the new building. For the first time, this renovation provided MASC with a modern facility specifically designed for its special administrative requirements.
Through today, MASC remains committed to acquiring, processing, cataloging, preserving, and making available millions of items, including original manuscripts and photographs, audio and video tapes, films, printed and published materials, graphic collections, and the archives of Washington State University, all of which provide primary source material for students and scholars in a variety of disciplines around the world.