Michigan State University

MeLCat Logo​ MeLCat Outage

Due to major system maintenance, you will not be able to request items through MeLCat beginning on November 18, 2015.  Renewals for MeLCat items will still be possible until December 2, 2015.  The system should be available for requesting again in early December.  If you are MSU faculty, student or staff, please try Uborrow.  Our community borrowers will not have access to interlibrary loan through MSU during that time. For more information, please read this MeLCat Server Migration FAQ. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Special Collections Hours

Today (Tue.)9:00am to 5:00pm
Dec. 2nd (Wed.)9:00am to 5:00pm
Dec. 3rd (Thu.)9:00am to 5:00pm
Dec. 4th (Fri.)9:00am to 5:00pm
Dec. 5th (Sat.)Closed

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Special Collections
Main Library Building
Michigan State University
366 W. Circle Drive
East Lansing MI, 48824
Phone: (517) 884-6471


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Special Collections

the Special Collections reading room at the MSU Library

Special Collections was established in 1962 to hold, preserve, build, and make accessible rare materials and special collections in the MSU Libraries. All materials must be used in the Special Collections reading room to protect and preserve them for use today and in the future.

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Provenance Project

Florentine Chronicle by Giovanni Villani

The Provenance Project at MSU Special Collections is an ongoing effort to systematically catalog marks of ownership and marks of use in rare books here at Michigan State University.  A team of library employees and volunteers documents and studies the copy-specific features of these rare books, such as bookplates, owner signatures, bookseller’s notes, library markings, unique bindings, handwritten annotations, and more. By looking at these clues, we hope to learn more about the “life stories” of our books: where they have been, who owned them, and how they might have been read and used.  A detailed provenance record can also shed light on the world outside of our books, giving us crucial insight into the habits of readers, the popularity of particular works and genres, as well as the history of the book and the book trade. One volume that rewards such close study is our 1537 printing of the Florentine Chronicle by Giovanni Villani.  A previous owner has filled the margins of this important historical work with extensive annotations, providing commentary on the text and illustrating several of the author’s key points.