Special Collections and Archives’ book collections span the 16th through 21st centuries and represent the history of bookmaking, contemporary book arts, Basque history and culture, Idaho history, Idaho authors, faculty publications, dime novels, the de Groot and Bittner collections about Ernest Hemingway, and hard-to-find publications on contemporary issues such as wolf reintroduction and ethanol production.
The Library actively collects books by Idaho authors, including fiction, westerns, science-fiction, literature, poetry, auto/biography, history, the environment, and numerous other topics. Notable authors include Vardis Fisher, Glenn Balch, Clare Jaynes. Idaho publishers include Caxton Press and Ahsahta Press.
See Also: Idaho Authors Collection
The Idaho History collection contains histories, biographies, reference books, government reports, sound recordings, films, and other works about the people, culture, politics, geography, environment, and economics of Idaho. The collection is strong on state and local histories as well as state and federal documents. Included is a collection of Western novels donated by Robert Gale of authors such as Matt Braun, Ernest Haycox, Clay Fisher, Zane Grey, Will Henry, Louis L’Amour and Luke Short.
The McCain Collection for Western Life was established in 1993 to augment Albertsons Library’s holdings on the Western US. The collection was made possible through a generous endowment by Warren E. and Bernie McCain, supplemented by an successful one million dollar challenge grant. There are books, journals, microforms, and other media documenting the Western US (beyond the 100th meridian), including history, literature, anthropology, geography, politics, economics, cultural life, frontier experience, and Native American tribes.
Special Collections actively collections books published by Boise State University faculty, staff, and departments covering a wide variety of disciplines and subjects.
In 2008, the Basque Museum and Cultural Center in conjunction with the University of Idaho, donated more than 3,000 books about local and international Basque culture, people, and history. Books are in English, Spanish, French, and Euskera, the Basque language. The library continues to collect books, journals, and other Basque-related materials.
In 1988, playwright John de Groot donated 130 books that include biographies about Hemingway and books written by his wives and friends, some signed by the authors.
In 2008, the widow of John Robert Bittner, a noted Hemingway scholar, donated 300 research books on Hemingway’s life and writings, supplemented by works on the expatriate life of 1920s Paris, Spanish bullfighters of Hemingway’s era, Hemingway’s editor Maxwell Perkins, and other Hemingway literary associates.
There is a small collection of rare books available. The oldest is an edition of Historia Scholastica, printed in Cologne, Germany in 1479, once owned by the British bibliographer William Blades. Other rare books include 17th and 18th century books about English history donated by Robert Fahringer, and others about United States history, religion, and Idaho history.