Along with the American Geographical Society Library, Archives Department, and Digital Collections and Initiatives, Special Collections forms part of the Distinctive Collections Division of the UWM Libraries. Special Collections consists primarily of rare and special printed materials that hold long-term, historical research potential for UWM academic programs. The collections support a broad range of research and teaching activities in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Areas of collecting interest for Special Collections include American nursing history, art and architecture, aviation history, Civil War regimental histories, contemporary fine-press printing and the book arts, gay and lesbian study, Irish literature, Jewish studies, labor and radical movements, local small-press publishing, Native American literature, manuscript collections, printing and publishing history, social justice, UWM authors and Women’s Studies.

Materials from Special Collections do not circulate, and the stacks are closed to researchers. Materials may be consulted, however, in the Special Collections Reading Room by anyone with a valid photo-ID. Use of Special Collections materials is subject to a set of regulations.

Although it is a closed-stack collection, Special Collections’ holdings may be searched by virtual means in the library, across the country, or on the other side of the planet by using Search@UW, UWM Libraries’ web-based public access catalog.


Special Collections is located on the Fourth Floor of the Golda Meir Library, 2311 East Hartford Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53211. If you need further directions to the location of Special Collections, use the following link to view the UWM campus map. Driving directions to UWM are also available.

We acknowledge that in Milwaukee we live and work on traditional Potawatomi, Ho-Chunk, and Menominee homelands along the southwest shores of Michigami, part of North America’s largest system of freshwater lakes, where the Milwaukee, Menominee, and Kinnickinnic rivers meet and the people of Wisconsin’s sovereign Anishinaabe, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Oneida, and Mohican nations remain present.


Public walk-in hours for Special Collections are Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Beyond these hours, Special Collections may also be accessed by appointment during regular library building hours by filling out our online scheduling form or by contacting Special Collections at (414) 229-4345 or


Special Collections may be contacted by phone at (414) 229-4345. You may contact the head of Special Collections, Max Yela, by email at:, or, for general questions, email For more information about the staff of Special Collections, see our staff page.


If an item is approved for photocopying or scanning (please see our use policies for more information about this) the following fees apply:

  • Scanning: $7.50 per half hour, $15.00 per hour

There are use fees that apply to our materials if you want to use them for publication; please inquire at (414) 229-4345 or email us at:

In the News

Special Collections has been featured in several local publications.