Special Collections

The fifth floor of OU’s Bizzell Memorial Library houses many of the university’s special collections, including a world-class History of Science collection along with the Nichols Collection, the Bizzell Bible Collection, and the Bass Business Collection. 
      The fifth-floor library space has recently been renovated. The facilities now include exhibition space, a comfortable lounge, a well-appointed reading room, an activities room for hands-on learning, a technology-enhanced classroo, and access (for those with research privileges) to the stacks.
     For more information about the collections, contact the Curator, Dr. Kerry Magruder (kmagruder@ou.edu), or the Librarian, Dr. JoAnn Palmeri (palmerij@ou.edu).

History of Science Collection

The University of Oklahoma’s History of Science Collection includes late medieval manuscripts and remarkable holdings of early printed books. Probably the most famous and treasured volume, among the nearly 100,000 works from every field and subject area of science, technology and medicine, is a copy of Galileo’s Sidereus Nuncius signed by the author. Click here for a list of some of the early printed books available in digital facsimile. While the facsimiles themselves are being migrated to a new server, images from the collection are available here, here, and here.
     Click here to view the History of Science blog. And here to look at some of the collection displayed in the Crossing Cultures Exhibit of 2013.

John and Mary Nichols Rare Books and Special Collections

The Nichols Collection is comprised of rare books and special materials in English, European, and American literatures dating from the 15th century to the present. The collection includes several incunables. These resources offer opportunities for interdisciplinary research in such fields as literary studies, the history of printing, and religion.
      Outstanding items from the Nichols Collection include a Second Folio of Shakespeare and a first edition of Holinshed's Chronicles, the source for many Shakespeare plays, as well as an extensive collection of works by and related to Charles Dickens.

Bizzell Bible Collection

Founded by a former president of the University, the Bizzell Bible Collection features two manuscript books of hours from the 15th century, incunabula, a copy of the Geneva Bible, and hundreds of other bibles in many languages. These resources are supplemented by commentaries, textual studies, illustrations, geographies and histories of the holy land, works on the life of Christ, prayer books and hymnals. The collection is housed in the beautiful Gaylord Room.
     An M.A. thesis from 1963, by Jeane Mathewson Whitcomb Williams, provides an overview and checklist of the Bizzell Bible Collection. To view searchable pdfs of the thesis, click here (Table of Contents), here (Preface, Chaps. 1-6, and Bibliography), here (Checklist of Miscellaneous Books and English-Language Bibles), and here (Checklist of Foreign-Language Bibles, Miniature Bibles, Prayer Books, and Manuscripts; Addenda and Corrigenda; and Index).

Bass Business Collection

While most of the materials in the Bass Business Collection concern more recent economic and institutional history, the collection also includes a number of books from the late medieval and early modern periods. The oldest work is Johannes Nider's De contractibus mercatorum, published in 1468 in Cologne by Ulrich Zell, an apprentice of Johannes Gutenberg. For a list of other early books, click here.

Western History Collection

Housed in beautiful Monnet Hall on Parrington Oval, OU's Western History Collections specializes in the history of the American West. It actively seeks to promote research through the acquisition, preservation, and access of materials relating to the development of the Trans-Mississippi West and Native American cultures.