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The purpose of the Indiana Collection is to supplement the holdings of the main circulating collection with the best editions of the works of important Indiana writers and significant historical and descriptive materials about Indiana. Some of the well-known national and regional writers represented are James Whitcomb Riley, Lew Wallace, Theodore Dreiser, Booth Tarkington, Kurt Vonnegut, Kin Hubbard and George McCutcheon. In addition, the Indiana Collection contains histories and atlases of many of the 92 counties. The total number of volumes exceeds 4,600.
Useful titles are added annually. The focus is statewide and regional rather than local, since a county historical society library and county public library located nearby collect local materials. However, some local materials are received. Individuals are encouraged to contact the department with their questions, as much material by necessiity remains undocumented.
An effort is made to identify emerging literary figures and to acquire some of their work, but the main emphasis remains on earlier writers who have been identified by bibliographic tools as having an association with Indiana or on current writers who have already established a significant reputation. Finally, on occasion works written by graduates of the University are acquired and housed in this collection.
The materials collected are not restricted only to books but include pamphlets and even an occasional special issue of a magazine or journal. Some materials, such as photocopies of letters of Civil War soldiers and county historical society newsletters, are kept in filing cabinets. These may be cross-listed as part of the Manuscripts Collection, if a user might look in both locations to find out about them.
Similarly, the Indiana Writers' Project/Program Collection and the Wabash Valley Visions & Voices digital memory project contain material about Indiana, including some of the kinds of material found in the Manuscripts Collection.
As the Indiana Collection is the most heavily used collection in the Department, much time and effort is spent on providing up-to-the-minute bibliographic access of monographs and similarly treated material through FusionPlus. All purchased or donated Indiana titles are cataloged as received.