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Special Collections & Rare Books: Home

Special Collections & Rare Books includes unique and specialized items of local, state, and regional interest and is one of Criss Library Archives & Special Collections’ collecting areas.

Special Collections & Rare Books Overview

Material in Special Collections & Rare Books in UNO Criss Library's Archives & Special Collections contains unique and specialized items of local, state and regional interest in addition to a wide variety of materials in many subject areas and formats, including Omaha and Nebraska history, pre-19th century books, autographed books and rare first editions.

All books are described and searchable in the library's catalog.

Finding aids for the individual collections that are part of the other special collections are available from Archives & Special CollectionsArchives & Special Collections' database provides finding aids for researchers to search or browse. The database was launched in September 2014 and finding aids for collections will continue to be added. Researchers will note finding aids for material from University Archives, Special Collections, and the Arthur Paul Afghanistan Collection in the Archives & Special Collections' database. If you have not found what you are looking for in the database contact staff in Criss Library's Archives & Special Collections for assistance.

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Do you have a question for Archives & Special Collections? Email us at or complete our request form.

Special Collections & Rare Books

A shelf of rare books in Criss Library Archives and Special Collections

History of the Collection

The beginning of the Rare Book collection can be traced to a collection acquired from Tabor College in Tabor, Iowa. Tabor College closed in 1927 and Omaha University acquired the approximately 20,000 rare books, books, and government documents from Tabor College's library through a receiver's sale in December 1933. The Municipal University of Omaha's Board of Regents supported the expenditure of $1,000.00 at their December 14, 1933 meeting to support the purchase and the books were moved to Omaha within days. The purchased library included the Icarian Collection as well as other single volumes of rare books now found in Archives & Special Collections. Books can be identified through a Tabor College library stamp usually on the first page of the book. The Tabor College acquisition brought the Municipal University of Omaha's library collection of 52,000 books. Criss Library continues to add to the Rare Book collection through gifts, transfers from the library's general stacks, and the purchase of material. 

Special Collections & Rare Books Highlights

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Bob Nash

Prepare for Your Visit

We encourage all researchers to review online information about finding material in and using material from Archives & Special Collections in advance of your visit to Criss Library. Archives & Special Collections includes the Afghanistan Collection, the U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel ArchivesUniversity Archives, and Special Collections and Rare Books

Research appointments are not required, but can ensure your research visit is as productive as possible. If you wish,  contact us in advance of your visit to make an appointment. 

Have a question about Archives & Special Collections not answered on our pages for visitors? Contact us


Archives & Special Collections at UNO Criss Library is open to the public Monday-Friday 8am-5pm and by appointment.

Archives & Special Collections is closed whenever Criss Library is closed

Archives & Special Collections will be closed Monday, May 30, 2016.

Archives & Special Collections will be closed Monday, July 4, 2016. 

Find Us

Archives & Special Collections is located on the lower level (first floor) of Criss Library. Directions to the library and information about campus parking is also available. A number of hotels are located near campus and in the greater Omaha area.

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