Welcome back!

Welcome back, students, to the first week of school!

At Special Collections & Archives (SC&A), we wanted to make sure that our website redesign would be ready in time for the students’ return. On our homepage at http://sca.gmu.edu/, we now have a navigation bar located on the left side of the browser to help users find specific information more quickly. Towards the center of the page, the user has the ability to search through all of our finding aids by entering keywords, access the University Libraries catalog from a different tab as well as links to our finding aids, which are listed alphabetically or by subject. On the right side of the browser, there is a rotating slideshow showcasing highlights from our collections, and a display of our hours and most recent blog posts at the bottom. For any questions about SC&A and our collections, please feel free to chat with us in Ask An Archivist in the bottom, right-hand corner.




We would also like to point out that on our new site, users may now find all of our digitized collections more easily. We feature digitized collections on our main Digitized Collections page, as well as links to digitized collections on LUNA – the University Libraries’ digital repository and on MARS (Mason Archival Repository Service) – George Mason University’s institutional digital repository. From our Rare & Antiquarian Books page, viewers can read descriptions about some of the many rare books that we offer in our holdings.


For faculty, staff, students, or members from the general public who are conducting research in our reading room for the first time, print out and complete all of the required forms from the Access Policies section of our Visit Us page. There is a form for researchers to fill in once during registration, and forms for researchers who would like to use digital cameras in the reading room, or use SC&A materials in published works in print, web, or video.


Continuing to improve our website and establishing a presence online is important to us. If you have any suggestions or comments for making our site better, please let us know at speccoll@gmu.edu

Multidisciplinary Exhibition


“Multidisciplinary,” the new exhibition in Fenwick’s A and C wings, highlights the variety of collections we have here in Special Collections & Archives. The idea for a multidisciplinary exhibition came from our desire to encourage scholars from throughout the University to examine our collections to find sources that are relevant to their fields. Archives are not just for historians—our collections touch on a variety of disciplines, and we are expanding our holdings constantly.  We want the rest of George Mason University’s community to know that SC&A’s holding are here for them, too.


Thesaurus temporum, Eusebii Pamphili Caesareae Palaestinae episcopi, Chronicorum canonum omnimodae historiae libri duo Call Number: D17 .E912 1658. Special Collections & Archives Rare and Antiquarian Books


To assemble this exhibition, the staff of SC&A looked through the lenses of disparate disciplines to find examples that speak to scholars in the natural and physical sciences, conflict resolution, and transportation, to name a few examples. Spreading our net wide also meant we could highlight works that we found particularly appealing or quirky or mysterious.  For example: processing specialist Greta Kuriger Suiter suggested looking at theatrical playbills in terms of graphic arts, or Japanese phonograph record covers as sources of language study; research services coordinator Christine Cheng plowed through the Poole cookbook collection to find choice items; long-time Northern Virginia resident and digital collections archivist Bob Vay selected a 1953 aerial photograph of Fairfax Circle and discerned its orientation; and SC&A head Yvonne Carignan found some beautiful examples from our large collection of performing arts sources.  SC&A is full of fascinating textual, photographic, audiovisual, and material items available to scholars who are looking for unique sources of inquiry.


Aerial Photograph of Fairfax Circle, 1953

Aerial photograph of Fairfax Circle looking southwest, 1953. Fairfax Circle is the confluence of Lee Highway (VA Rt. 29 which continues west through the circle) Old Lee Highway (which begins at the circle and continues south-west), and Arlington Blvd (which begins at the circle and continues east). This photograph was taken by Charles Baptie from a low-flying airplane. Baptie photographed locations of Texaco stations for the Texas-based oil company during the 1950s and 1960s. Charles Baptie photograph collection, Collection #C0032, box 4, folder 8. Copyright held by George Mason University. Restricted to personal, non-commercial use only. For permission to publish, contact Special Collections & Archives, George Mason University Libraries, speccoll@gmu.edu.