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Special Collections

About the Digital Collections and Exhibits

Special Collections has digitized thousands of unique documents and photographs, which are available online for researchers to access from anywhere in the world. These digital projects fall into two categories: digital collections, which consist of searchable online databases of original content from our collections that has been scanned and made publicly accessible online; and online exhibits, which present selected resources and information from our collections organized around a specific topic. To explore our digital projects, choose an option below.

Digital Collections

This is the main portal for accessing digitized content from Special Collections' manuscript and archival collections. 

The Augustana Observer, Augustana's student newspaper, began publication in 1902 and continues through the present day. The Rockety-I was Augustana's annual yearbook, published from approximately 1900 to 2004. Both are available for full-text searching in our digital collections.  These publications provide valuable insight into the student experience at Augustana, and are key resources for studying the college's history.  Physical copies of both of these resources are available in the Special Collections reading room.

A sampling of the historical photos of Augustana's campus, students, and faculty held in Special Collections.

A digital repository of which Augustana was a founding member, the UMVDIA is collection of historic images showcasing the Mississippi River region along the Iowa/Illinois border.

Augustana Digital Commons, the college's institutional repository, showcases outstanding scholarly and creative works of the students, faculty, and staff of Augustana College, as well as campus governance documents and internal records. 

Online Exhibits

This timeline of Augustana history was constructed for the college's sesquicentennial celebration in 2010, and contains information on important events from the first 150 years of Augustana College.  It was updated and migrated to a new platform in 2020.  Clicking on the link above will open the updated version in a new tab or browser window.  You can view a copy of the original version here, captured and preserved by the Internet Archive.

Augustana's campus has gone through many changes since the college moved to Rock Island in 1875. This project documents the history of the buildings on Augustana's campus, as well as the ways in which the campus has changed in size and shape, from its beginning until the present.  NOTE: the link above points to a copy of the campus history timeline captured and preserved by the Internet Archive.  The original timeline was hosted on a college web server that has since been retired.

This combined map and timeline reflect the journey of Kikue (Ruth) Kumata, a member of the Augustana College Class of 1949.  Kumata was born and raised in Seattle, WA.  During World War II, she was incarcerated along with her family and ~120,000 other Japanese and Japanese American men, women, and children by the United States government.  Her journey from Seattle to Minidoka and eventually Augustana was compiled on the StoryMapJS digital platform by former Special Collections Librarian Emma Saito Lincoln in conjunction with the 2020 Augie Reads selection, Julie Otsuka's When the Emperor Was Divine.

Plants have always been an integral part of the world, so why is it that they often go unnoticed? This exhibit seeks to highlight ways in which plants have managed to capture the attention of people over time. The materials selected for this exhibit display unique aspects of our collection that reflect the importance and interest people have found in plants. Plants have served medicinal purposes, captured the eye of students taking biology courses, been forms of artistic expression and inspiration, and have even been used as a means of communication. Whatever your current or past views on plants may be, we invite you to see just how vast and interesting the world of plants truly is.

Curated by senior Jessica Beyer, this exhibit reflects elements of her major in Biology, minor in History, and experience as a student worker in Special Collections.  Originally designed and installed in the Special Collections reading room on the 1st floor of Augustana College's Thomas Tredway Library, it has been adapted for web viewing in response to the closure of our campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.