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Unique Collections


Unique Collections are collections held at Milner Library not found anywhere else. These collections are diverse in their focus and contents.

A Seaman's Diary of World War I

Sverre O. Braathen (1895-1974) grew up in the Red River Valley of the north, North Dakota. This handwritten diary dates from his time on the U.S.S. Kearsarge during WWI.



Anna Ropp Diaries

Anna Ropp (1904–2005) was raised in Missouri and left home in 1927 to enroll in the Mennonite Hospital School of Nursing in Bloomington, Illinois. Her stories can be discovered through her diaries between 1933 and 2004.



Answering the Call

An online exhibition of of digital images of World War I posters held in Milner Library’s Government Documents World War Poster Collection.



Art & Culture

A locally produced database of images for use in the study and teaching of art, design, and visual culture at Illinois State University.



Buffalo Bill

William Frederick Cody, who is known more commonly by the name "Buffalo Bill”, is an American icon. Cody, born in 1846, would come to blaze a trail across American history with his involvement in the Pony Express, the Civil War, and his astoundingly popular Wild West Shows.



Catch it! Circus films

The word "circus" tantalizes nearly all the human senses, perhaps none more than sight. In the films presented here, catch the tremendous movement of the circus – in the ring, in the backyard, or sometimes in the practice facility.



Children's Literature Collection

The Children's Literature Collection houses several noteworthy collections including the Lois Lenski Collection, Will Johnson Collection and more.



Dr. Jo Ann Rayfield Archives at Illinois State University

The University Archives was recognized in 1970 as the official repository of University records that have enduring value.

This includes :

Official records from governing boards, campus offices, faculty and student governance bodies, committees, colleges, departments and faculty and student organizations

Professional and personal papers of faculty, administrative staff and alumni, educational organizations in Illinois

Manuscript or archival material related to individuals and local clubs or businesses in the area.



Ethnology Teaching Collection

This online Ethnology Teaching Collection offers images and information of interesting objects, collected from all over the world, that were once part of the ISU University Museums’ collection. This growing online digital collection is offered for research, teaching, and life-long learning.



Faculty Research at Illinois State University: A Bibliography of Historical and Current Scholarly Works

In 1999, Milner Library embarked on an ambitious project to collect and document the works of all faculty members in Illinois State University history.



Gamma Phi Circus

Gamma Phi Circus started its life on the campus of Illinois State University as a gymnastics fraternity in 1929.



German Propaganda: The 1936 Berlin Olympics

American Illustrated News was a piece of propaganda created in Berlin for the 1936 Olympics that was written in English and targeted at Americans.


Historic Heralds

Historic Heralds

A small portion of the historic heralds held in the Circus & Allied Arts Collection of Special Collections.



Illinois State University History Collection

The History Collection currently includes campus history books, proceedings of the first university governing board, digital images, and nearly 400 photographs.



International Collection of Child Art

Illinois State University Milner Library's International Collection of Child Art celebrates the creativity and innovative work produced by children with a global perspective.



Ken-Way Studio

As a commercial photographer, a great deal of Kenneth Berglund’s work was done in the local and regional Central Illinois business community, many of which had national significance including Prairie Farms, Standard Oil, State Farm, Nestle Beich, and others.



Lincoln Collection of H.K. Sage

This "working Lincoln library" contains over 2,600 books and pamphlets which cover all aspects of Lincoln's life.



Lois Lenski Doll Collection

Lenski donated the majority of her doll collection to the Children’s Literature and Historical Textbook Collection of Special Collections.



Niiyama Poetic Japanese Pottery

Japanese ceramicist Mitsuya Niiyama created these one hundred ceramic pieces as interpretations of the poems of the Hyakunin Isshu.


Normal Edition Workshop

Normal Editions Workshop (N.E.W.) Archive

An online archive and exhibition of collaborative limited edition fine art prints produced at Illinois State University in the print research facility by visiting artists in collaboration with N.E.W. faculty, staff, and students.



Passion for Circus

One of the largest special collections of its type in existence, the Circus and Allied Arts Collection is over 8,000 volumes strong, including the A Passion for Circus Digital Collection.



Pioneer Lady: Peoria’s Secret Scribe

There are more questions than answers about an unknown woman's diary. This handwritten diary was transcribed through Decipher History. Thank you to all contributors.


Voices of Extremism

Voices of Extremism

An audio collection of the leaders of extreme social and political movements active during the 1950s-1970s.


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Milner Library
Campus Box 8900
201 North School St.
Normal, Il 61790-8900
Phone: 309.438.3451

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Last Updated: 6/12/17