Special Collections offers contemplative rooms for archival labs, research, events, and quiet study.
The Alfred King Chapman Room serves as the repository for the Colby College Archives (Colbiana), the historical records of the College from 1813 to the present.
The Colbiana collection includes administrative and curricular policy documents, information on student life and customs, books by Colby authors, and honors and senior scholar theses. The collection also includes complete runs of the Echo (student newspaper), the Alumnus (later Colby Magazine), the college catalog, and the Oracle (student yearbook).
The Chapman Room also houses books from the Harland Eastman collection of children’s literature, the Ben Ames Williams collection, the Barbara Nnoka collection, the Benjamin Butler collection, and the Michael Wormser collection of World War I and World War II poets.
The Chapman Room also serves as a quiet area for visiting scholars and students to conduct their research.
The John and Catherine Healy Memorial Room houses the James Augustine Healy Collection, comprising works dating from the Irish Literary Renaissance (1880-1940) to the present day.
There are extensive collections of works by William Butler Yeats and James Joyce, including rare volumes. Other Irish authors represented in the collection include John Millington Synge, James Stephens, George William Russell (AE), Standish James O’Grady, George Moore, Douglas Hyde, Lady Gregory, Oliver St. John Gogarty, Oscar Wilde, and Bernard Shaw.
The Healy collection also includes the papers of James Brendan Connolly, an American-Irish novelist. The annex adjacent to the Healy Room contains permanent exhibit space showcasing materials from Connolly’s collection.
The Healy Room serves as a space for archival labs, student research, and quiet study, as well as a second reading room for visiting scholars conducting research into the collections.
The Robinson Room in Special Collections is named for one of Maine’s most noted poets, Edwin Arlington Robinson, and contains many books from his personal library.
The Robinson Room is our main reading room, and it is frequently used for archival labs, poetry readings, and other library and campus events. It is also a wonderful, contemplative space for quiet study and is accessible during Special Collections open hours.
The Robinson Room also contains our early printed book collection; our Rubaiyat collection (including more than 200 editions of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam); and collections by various authors including Thomas Hardy, Sarah Orne Jewett, Elizabeth Akers Allen, Vernon Lee, Lilla Cabot Perry, Laura Elizabeth Richards, Victoria Sackville-West, Mary Ellen Chase, Margaret Deland, Alice Brown, Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Celia Laighton Thaxter, Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, and Kate Douglas Wiggin.
The Wormser Reading Room (formerly the President’s Room) was dedicated in 2009 to Eugenia Hall Wormser, Colby Class of 1960, by her husband, Michael Wormser, Colby Class of 1959. Mrs. Wormser majored in English literature. Her passion for literature was stimulated and encouraged by Professor Eileen Curran, who taught Victorian literature. Mrs. Wormser furthered her interest in the Victorians, particularly George Eliot and Anthony Trollope, during the three years she and her husband lived in England in the mid-1960s. Mrs. Wormser went on to earn an M.L.S. in library science at Carnegie Mellon University. She worked in the Washington D.C. public library system and as librarian of the Audubon Society of the Mid-Atlantic States. Mrs. Wormser read voraciously all her life and spent her last 23 years in Maine. She died in 2007.
The Wormser Reading Room, besides being a popular study space, hosts the weekly Noontime Faculty Forum Colloquium Series and other public events. In addition to promoting traveling exhibitions, the walls of the Wormser Reading Room feature images from the Colbiana Collection (college archives) in Special Collections. On permanent display are two portraits, of Mary Low Carver and Jacqueline Nunez, executed by artist and Special Collections staff member Maggie Libby. The room was renovated in 2014 and 2016.
Special Collections maintains several exhibit spaces in our rooms, some permanent and some rotating.