Using the Collections

We encourage students, staff, and faculty from Drew University to make use of our collections and we also invite outside researchers and interested people to use the materials found in Special Collections, University Archives, and the Methodist Library. The materials are used in the Wilson Reading Room.

Some materials require an appointment, such as those in University Archives and some of the Special Collections. Please email archives@drew.edu or speccol@drew.edu to make an appointment.

Wilson Reading Room

The Wilson Reading Room is located on the main floor of the United Methodist Archives and History Center. The Wilson Reading Room is where most of the non-circulating materials are used, including all Methodist Library and Archives materials, Special Collections, and many of the University Archives materials.

The Wilson Reading Room is a study space, equipped with large tables, comfortable chairs, and electrical outlets in the tables. We also have public access computers, overhead and flatbed scanners, a photocopier, and a digital microfilm machine available to researchers. Researchers are welcome to use laptops, notebooks and pencils, or cameras without flash for note taking. See our full list of Reading Room Policies.

The Wilson Reading Room was named after Clarence True Wilson, General Secretary of the Methodist Board of Temperance, Prohibition, and Public Morals. Renovations to the room in January 2015 were made possible by a gift from Maribeth W. Collins, Clarence True Wilson’s granddaughter.

Class Visits

We encourage Professors to bring their classes in for Instructional Sessions. Sessions range from general introductions to Special Collections and Archives, with an overview of materials, to hands-on, in-depth research with materials. We are happy to provide class tours and arrange for the use of materials in teaching. We have a classroom and a conference room available to different size groups. Contact speccol@drew.edu to discuss a class visit.


What’s the difference between University Archives and Methodist Archives?

Because Drew University was originally founded as a Methodist theological seminary, there are many Methodist materials in both the University Archives and the Methodist Archives. However, the University Archives hold the records of Drew University and its institutional history, while the Methodist Archives hold materials that relate directly to the United Methodist Church.

Do I need to make an appointment?

Appointments are necessary for researchers not part of the Drew community. Some collections, such as those within University Archives and within several special collections, are housed in the Main Library and require an appointment so they can be transported to the Wilson Reading Room. Please email speccol@drew.edu or archives@drew.edu to ask about appointments. If you are a member of the Drew University community, then you do not need an appointment.

Who is allowed to use the collections?

Everyone! We encourage students, staff, and faculty from Drew University to make use of our collections and we also invite outside researchers and interested people to use the materials found in Special Collections, University Archives, and the Methodist Library.

What can I bring with me into the reading room?

You are welcome to bring a notepad, pencils, and a laptop into the reading room. Cell phones are also allowed on silent. We ask that all bags, coats, pens, and food/drink be left in the lockers provided. See a full list of our policies.

Can I use a camera in the reading room?

We welcome cameras, as long as you don’t use flash. No tripods or personal scanners are allowed.

Why can’t I check out the books in Special Collections or the Methodist Library?

Even though some of our books are very new and in very good shape, it is our job to protect them so that they will be around in the future. Some of the materials, such as the theses in University Archives, are the only copies known to exist. The Methodist Library acts as the depository, which means in addition to preserving older works, our job is to collect and keep new works so that future generations will have access to them.

Do you give tours of the United Methodist Archives and History Center?

Yes! We welcome tour groups, especially those interested in learning about our work. Please contact speccol@drew.edu to schedule a tour.

Can I donate my books or papers?

We regularly accept donations of books and papers that relate to our collecting areas. If you are interested in donating materials, please contact speccol@drew.eduarchives@drew.edu, or methodist@drew.edu.

I found an old book. Can you tell me how much it is worth?

We do not provide appraisals of materials. However, you can search for booksellers who may be able to provide a value for your book(s) through the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America.

Access Restrictions: Can I walk around the closed stacks and shelf-read?

Access to the closed stacks is not permitted except to authorized Special Collections and Methodist Library staff.  Researchers may request that items in the closed stacks be delivered to the Wilson Reading Room.

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