Interdisciplinary and international in scope, ASU Library’s Distinctive Collections feature rare books and manuscripts, original artifacts, archives, and much more. From architectural drawings to early 20th century writings and photography, these collections spotlight the people and places of the Southwest region with an emphasis on the voices and histories of native peoples, immigrants, trade and industry.
ASU Library’s collaborators make this work possible. Through varied partnerships with university faculty, nonprofit organizations, museums, research centers and private donors, ASU Library aims to collect and preserve what is significant and meaningful to human history. The team strives toward open accessibility for materials when possible, and takes advantage of ongoing development of digital interfaces in efforts to extend the reach of these collections.
The Distinctive Collections team consists of librarians and archivists who have extensive disciplinary knowledge in the selection, description, and specialized care of rare, distinctive, and unique historical materials.
Interested in a collection?
Get in touch with an archivist to learn more!
Call 480-965-4932 or Ask an Archivist.
What we do
With a focus on multicultural histories of Arizona and the Southwest, ASU Library is home to five nationally and internationally renowned research collections, featuring millions of items and serving as an increasingly critical resource to historians, the local community, and students and scholars worldwide.
Our featured collections
Arizona’s largest Latino archival collection with a focus on oral histories and family records.
The world’s largest archive documenting children’s theatre from the 16th century.
Documenting the diverse communities and cultures and political histories of the region.
From Chaucer to Star Wars, more than 34,000 rare items spanning 40 centuries.
This collection emphasizes desert-sensitive design and the evolution of midcentury and modern architecture in the Southwest.