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Special Collections

Our Collections

History class in Special Collections

Our collections cover many topics within the field of Cleveland history, with special concentrations on the history of the industrial history of Northeast Ohio, Cleveland journalism, and the city's infrastructure. We are also home to the Library's collections of rare materials, as well as publications from the University Archives about CSU and its predecessor, Fenn College.



  • Gerald E. Brookins Collection: Images of streetcars, interurbans, railroads and everyday Cleveland area photographs. See the Gerald E. Brookins Collection in Cleveland Memory.
  • Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum Collection: Digital records of several of the museums projects created from the personal collection of Annette B. Fromm, the personal collection of Carole Kantor, the Cleveland Press Collection housed by Cleveland State University Special Collections, and other holdings housed by Cleveland State University. See the Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum Collection in Cleveland Memory.
  • Herbert Elwell Archive: Scores, discs, reel-to-reel tapes, manuscripts, articles, program annotations for the Cleveland Orchestra, and assorted letters and memorabilia belonging to Herbert Elwell (May 10, 1898 - April 17, 1974), a composer, critic, teacher, and important figure in Cleveland's music scene, and donated by Joan Hofer, Elwell's niece.
  • Higbee's Silver Grille Collection (1930-2000): Includes slides, photographs, recipes, promotional materials, in-house publications, and other ephemera related to the Higbee's Department Store and the Silver Grille Restaurant
  • Humphrey Glass Negative Collection: A set of 700 glass negatives documenting the life and interests of Euclid Beach Park owner Dudley S. Humphrey II and his family during the early part of the 20th century. See the Humphrey Glass Negative Collection in Cleveland Memory.
  • James A. Miller collection (1981-1993): The collected published and unpublished works of Cleveland poet James A. Miller.
  • James J. Nance Papers: Personal and professional papers of James J. Nance, local businessman and former chairman of the CSU Board of Trustees.
  • Janet Beighle French Collection: Ten scrapbooks of newspaper clippings written by Janet Beighle French, the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Home Economics/Food Editor from 1963 through 1986. Also included are articles about food, nutrition, and recipes, as well as two containers of 8x10 color negatives of featured food arrangements.
  • Jocelyn Chang and Michael Leese Music Collection (1990-2005): An exceptionally rich musical collection representing the lifetime musical accomplishments of harpist, musical innovator, and teacher Jocelyn Chang and her husband, Michael Leese, a flutist, composer, music copyist and recording producer.
  • John D. Cimperman collection of Cleveland Landmarks Commission records (1973-1991): Personal papers from former Cleveland City Councilman, John D. Cimperman, related to his work in creating and helping to manage the Cleveland Landmarks Commission.


  • Katharine Warne Papers (1945-2014): This collection of musician and composer Katharine Warne contains various types of correspondence and musical material, including personal correspondence and correspondence related to the Darius Milhaud Society. There are numerous original compositions that include the composer's original manuscripts, several copies of the manuscripts, and other musical material including sketches, transcriptions, and student assignments.
  • Leo Jeffres Newspaper Collection: This collection of former CSU Communications Professor Leo Jeffres contains newspapers dating from c.1975-1995 representing many Greater Cleveland neighborhoods and ethnic communities, both urban and suburban.
  • Lewis Turco collection (1962-2004): Correspondences, bibliography, biographical materials, journal, and select press materials, publications, and personal belongings of Lewis Turco, literary figure, English instructor and founder of the Poetry Center at Fenn College [Cleveland State University]. See the Lewis Turco collection in Cleveland Memory
  • The Marquis de Lafayette Collection: Microfilm reproduction of the La Grange archive of papers of the Marquis de Lafayette.
  • Montage Film Collection: More than two hundred and fifty documentary films which were shown on WKYC-TV, Cleveland's NBC affiliate, from September 1965 to December 1978. Go to the Montage website.



  • The Sacred Landmarks Collection: The Center for Sacred Landmarks was a research and public service center within the Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University. Founded as the Sacred Landmarks Research Group in the College of Arts and Sciences in 1986 and later renamed the Sacred Landmarks Initiative, this research and service entity moved to the Levin College in 1995, becoming the Center for Sacred Landmarks. Professor Michael J. Tevesz founded the organization and served as its Director throughout its approximately 25 year history. Read more about the Sacred Landmarks Collection.
  • The Steamer William Mather Collection: Includes records from Cleveland Cliffs Archives, ship records, personal corporate files, personal papers, photographs and slides.
  • The Thomas F. Campbell Papers (1965-1985): The personal and professional papers of Thomas F. Cambell, professor and the co-founder of Cleveland State University's Institute of Urban Studies, now the Maxine Goodman Levine College of Urban Affairs.
  • Title IX Document Collection (1971-1994): Documents such as newsletters, books, teaching materials, and manuals focusing on the general theme of Title IX passage and implementation within school districts, administration, and curricula, as well as in employment in the public and private sectors.
  • T.W. Grogan Collection (1930-1950): Archival photographs of various buildings in and around the Greater Cleveland area from the late 1930s to the early 1950s managed by the T.W. Grogan Company. See the T.W. Grogan Collection in Cleveland Memory.
  • Viktor Schreckengost Collection: Includes job folders with correspondence, sketches, blueprints, and contracts from the archives of Cleveland artist, teacher and industrial designer, Viktor Schreckengost.
  • Dr. Walter Leedy Collection 1860 - 2006: Contains materials from Dr. Walter Leedy's time as a professor at Cleveland State University. His focus was on art history, and medieval architecture. This collection contains articles regarding architecture and art, materials from the classes he taught at CSU, newspaper articles, research notes, and copies of his own published articles.
  • Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad Company photograph collection (1863-1962): Over one thousand photographs in many different sizes dating from 1863 to 1962, and a registry which lists the location of many assets by division and branch. See the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad Company photograph collection in Cleveland Memory.
  • Wilbur & Sara Ruth Watson Bridge Book Collection: Over one hundred and seventy-five rare books, some dating from the eighteenth century, and fifteen albums of photographs on historic bridges. The collection is considered one of the best of its kind in the country. See the Wilbur & Sara Ruth Watson Bridge Book Collection in Cleveland Memory.
  • William S. Nehez Collection (1961-1980): The personal professional collection of Cleveland Press photographer, consisting of photograph negatives (in 35mm and 4x5 medium format) used for published stories featured in the Press.
  • Willard Combes Editorial Cartoon Collection (1936-1945): Contains over 50 political and social line drawings by Willard Combes, editorial cartoonist for the Cleveland Press and additional related material, such as newspaper clippings including the cartoons in their context and correspondence.
  • William Ashbolt photography collection (1954-1965): Black-and-white photographs taken by William Ashbolt, a Plain Dealer photographer, covering such topics as the investigation and trial of the Sam Sheppard for the murder of Marilyn Sheppard from July 1954 to December 1954 and Robert Manry's Tinkerbelle sailboat voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in 1965.
  • Dr. William O. and Naomi E. Walker Collection - Includes more than four hundred books and rare historical material which comprise the W. O. Walker collection of Afro-American literature.
  • William Wynne Photography Collection (1950-1984): Consists of photographs, newspaper clippings, and scrapbooks (including letters and notes) once belonging to William "Bill" Wynne, an award-winning Plain Dealer photographer and photojournalist.
  • Winsor French Collection (1920-2010): Contains the correspondence, articles, photographs of family and friends, datebooks, personal effects, and other ephemera of former Cleveland Press society columnist, Winsor French.
  • WomenSpace (1974-1995): The collection is comprised of mostly paper documents of various natures, photos, slides, negatives, plaques, a metal plate, a quilt, various fabric pieces, ribbons, a tee-shirt, buttons, stamps, a VHS tape, Audio Reel to Reel, Audio cassettes.