Friday, October 2, 2015

Welcome to the Special Collection!

The Samford University Special Collection department (SC) was officially formed in 1955. When the present campus was being built, an area of the new library was set aside where the department could reside.
By 1957, the SC held 1,385 items. Today the collection has grown to include over 13,880 sets of records; with the size of a single collection ranging anywhere between a single folder to 100 boxes of material.  In addition, the collection now houses more than 39,000 volumes of printed materials. 

The department has three primary focuses for the collection; 
  • Collect, preserve and share the story of Samford University with materials going back before the founding of the institution in 1841, then known as Howard College, up through the present day. 
  • Serve as the repository for Alabama Baptists.  Baptist records at Samford can be traced back nearly a century. However, the university didn’t enter into an official agreement with the Baptists of Alabama until 1953. By 1956, the collection consisted of 263 church records and 183 associational records. Today the collection houses over 5,900 different collections related to Baptist history. 
  • Collect Alabama resources documenting the social, family, cultural, and religious history of the state.

In addition to the above, the department houses Irish materials, rare books, and the literary collections of Alfred Lord Tennyson, John Ruskin, John Masefield, and Lafcadio Hearn.   

The types of materials housed in the collection include newspapers, periodicals, books, diaries, correspondence files, oral histories, manuscripts, official records, videos, dissertations, photographs and audio recordings. 

This past year, material from the collection has been used in books, dissertations, film documentaries and, most importantly, the research papers of Samford students. 

The Special Collection Department is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Why do I have to sign in?

You're ready to get started with your research.  You visit the library's website--  You type your search in the handy box provided on the front page, and then, you see this:

Have you wondered why there's an extra step to get to all of the great, scholarly resources that you can find through the library?

It's because these resources are only for YOU- Samford Students and Faculty.  Not only that, but only current students, too.

Many of the resources that you can find through the library are behind a paywall.  This means that they are only available with a paid (often expensive) subscription to a database or individual journal.  

Ever used Google Scholar and gotten frustrated because of all of the articles that you couldn't simply click and read?  There's a good chance that we have access to them, or we can get them for you, because you have already paid for that access through the library.

This isn't the only reason you have to log in to use the library's databases.  It also helps us to know how we can best meet the needs of the Samford community.  We make yearly decisions about what resources to keep or get rid of, and how to best help you find what you're looking for, because you log in.  We are constantly striving to serve YOU better!

Some of our database access is provided for free to people in Alabama through the Alabama Virtual Library.  These databases are marked by a little AVL symbol next to them in the database list:

You can visit the Alabama Virtual Library at

And remember, if you have questions about what we do, why we do it, or how we do it, please don't hesitate to Ask Us!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Campus Activities: the 1960s through the 1980s

From the late 1950s to the early 1990s, the campus photographer was Lew Arnold. Along with documenting major campus events like Homecoming and Commencement, Arnold photographed smaller moments in student’s lives.

Here are some of his photos of campus activities that are favorites of the Special Collection.

A female student reading on the Quad circa 1960 to 1979. Personally, we’re big fans of her flipped hairstyle.

Greek Week in 1962 with students pointing to their sorority or fraternity affiliations.

Continuing the Greek theme, here is a sorority theme party in 1975. Unfortunately, we don’t know what sorority or what the theme was exactly, but it clearly involved apples.

An impassioned game of tug of war on the quad circa the 1980s.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Welcome (back), Samford!

Everyone here at the Davis Library hopes that you had a wonderful summer!

We want your Fall Semester to be equally successful.

Here are some things to remember to get back into the swing of things.

In the Library:

  • Here's the library's website:

  • To reserve a study room, for individual, group, or practicing a presentation, you'll need to check out the room from the Circulation desk. 

  • All Campus:

    Whether you're here in the library, or anywhere else on campus, be mindful of your laptops and any other materials or devices.  Do not leave them unsecured!  We have an open campus, and thefts do happen. 

    When you're in the library, we have cables available to check out for securing laptops.

    If you have had something stolen, or feel threatened, or if you see suspicious activity, please, call Public Safety at 205-726, 2020.  

    You can visit their webpage here for more information:

    Wednesday, July 1, 2015

    Library will close on July 3rd for Independence Day

    The Davis Library will be closed on Friday, July 3rd, for Independence Day.

    We will re-open on July 4th for normal hours to accommodate students studying for Summer I finals.

    Have a safe and happy holiday!

    Samford University students paint a fire hydrant to celebrate the United States bicentennial in 1976.

    Friday, May 29, 2015

    Institute for Genealogy and Historical Research to Relocate in 2017

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Samford University has announced that the Institute for Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) will relocate after the June 2016 institute. The university is working with the IGHR advisory board and other organizations to find a suitable host.
    The growth in Samford’s academic programming has resulted in demands on necessary resources that exceed the university’s ability to meet both programs’ requirements for a quality experience for all parties, according to Kimmetha Herndon, dean of Samford University’s Library. The Institute traditionally has been held in June, and that date did not compete with other workshops and conferences held across the U.S. throughout the year. Alternative dates to host the Institute were not available because of the university’s expanded year-round academic programming. This year’s IGHR workshop is June 7-12.
    “June has become an increasingly busy month on the Samford campus. Institutional priorities for academic programming, summer academic camps and a growing number of new student orientation sessions increased the demand on classroom, residence hall, dining and other auxiliary resources,” Herndon said. “For several years now, we have had to make adjustments in the IGHR schedule and programming to try to meet the institute’s programming needs within the available space and resources of the university.”
    The goal is to provide the best learning atmosphere possible for IGHR attendees. “The institute has been operating at capacity for several years, and we have reached the point where our campus no longer can provide the high quality experience that our attendees deserve and the university desires,” Herndon added.
    The decision was not an easy one, Herndon explained, and university officials have worked for two years to find viable solutions or alternative dates. Herndon and the university library staff are working with the IGHR advisory board to identify alternative hosts, including other locations in Birmingham and across the South.
    Herndon said Samford will continue to promote IGHR. The Samford library staff and IGHR advisory board will seek to keep the Institute and workshop in the South and to promote the historic collections in Alabama and the Southeast.
    Herndon and several board members noted that the potential move could enable IGHR to serve more genealogists and to offer a more comprehensive curriculum.
    The Institute for Genealogy and Historical Research dates to 1962, and it became a week-long event in 1965. Although the format and schedule have changed through the years, Herndon noted, the Institute has sought to “instruct genealogical researchers in the art of detailed historical research beyond knowing who their ancestors were to the deeper understanding of the times and places in which their families lived.”
    It is because of that long history that Samford is committed to identifying a possible new host campus or facility for the Institute, she added.
    “We are fortunate that there are a number of institutions and organizations across the South who could be strong partners with the Institute,” Herndon said. “Our goal is to make this transition as seamless as possible for those who have come to rely on the Institute as a source for their genealogical research education needs. We want IGHR to continue to thrive, and we anticipate being able to continue this strong tradition in support of the mission of IGHR.”