Special Collections

The Special Collections department collects materials of enduring historical and cultural value -- housing, preserving, and making accessible materials that are original, rare, unique, fragile, and archival. Our collections and staff support UMBC's research and educational mission and its dedication to cultural and ethnic diversity, social responsibility and lifelong learning.

We have resumed on-site services in addition to remote support to all researchers. For assistance with research, accessing collection materials, or preparing instruction, please contact the Special Collections staff directly. We can be reached by:

  • chat (select "Ask a Librarian" button on the right side of any webpage)
  • e-mail (speccoll@umbc.edu)
  • voicemail (410-455-2353)
  • online research consultation with an archivist (schedule a consultation here).

Hours and Appointments

Use the online scheduling service to reserve an on-site research appointment. Appointments are available during regular hours on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday 12-4pm and Thursday 12-7pm.

For the remainder of 2022:

NOTE: We are closed Wed 11/23-11/25.
Regular hours resume on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday 12-4pm and Thursday 12-7pm from 11/28-12/13.
By appointment only 12/14-12/22.
We are closed 12/23/22-1/2/23.

For 2023, our hours are as follows:

By appointment Winter session Jan 3-27.
Regular hours Jan 28-March 10, 2023
Closed March 12-18
Regular hours March 20-May 9, 2023
By appointment May 10-August 29, 2023

Interested in Fall 2022 instruction options? Please review our instruction page.

Looking for the Documenting COVID-19 at UMBC project? Learn more here.

Special Collections Search

Advanced Search


Use this search to find:

  • Photography collections (portfolios, digital images, historic equipment, and related archival collections)
  • Archives finding aids (University Archives, Maryland history collections, Literary manuscripts, and the Center for Biological Sciences Archives)
  • Science fiction fanzines
  • Radical literature
  • Maryland & regional maps
  • Artwork & posters
  • University publications

Search Tips

  • Use quotes for phrases, e.g. "Spring Grove"
  • Or, use AND for phrases, e.g. Spring AND Grove
  • For name searches, use last name, first name in quotes, e.g. "Adams, Ansel"

Library Catalog (catalogusmai)



Use this search for:

  • Photography books & serials (Bafford)
  • Science fiction books & serials (including pulp magazines!) (Rosenfeld)
  • Maryland history & serials (Arnold/Howard)
  • Artists' books
  • Rare books
  • Comic books
  • Alternative Press Center Collection
  • Theses and dissertations
  • Adventure, Mystery & Detective Pulps
UMBC Digital Collections

Search for


Lewis Hine photograph of child laborer

Use this search to find digital images, digitized books, archives, organizational and personal papers, reports, playbills and more from:

Reading Room open by appointment

  • Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 12-4pm
  • Thursday 12-7pm
  • Schedule an appointment or email speccoll@umbc.edu for assistance. Appointments are required during the exam period, Winter session, and Summer session.