Special Collections

The second floor of the Richardson Library houses over 27,000 items, composed of books, manuscripts, personal letters, photographs, artwork, and artifacts from various collections.

Take a quick tour of the facilities:

Archives, of more than 50 linear feet, containing the personal papers of Rupert Richardson, K.K. Legett and family, Aileen Culpepper; photographic slides of Hardin-Simmons buildings, people and events; Hardin-Simmons student newspaper The Brand; documents of Sam Houston, Elizabeth Custer, and Charles Goodnight; and other historic materials.


HSU 1891 Legacy Room houses 3500 historical volumes, documents, and artifacts related to the history of Hardin-Simmons University.


Reading Room contains more than 9,000 books, artwork, and material culture pertaining to the history of the Southwest, Texas, and the Abilene region. Included are works by noted Southwest historians such as Rupert Richardson, Carl Coke Rister, and Walter Prescott Webb (Dr. Richardson purchased Webb’s personal library for the Research Center’s collection).


The Betty Woods Room of Old, Rare, and Fine Books and Documents includes, but is not limited to:

  • Kelley Bible Collection: Consists of 13 early English translations of the Bible including the 1537 Coverdale, the 1538 Tyndale, the Matthew’s Bible , the 1566 Great Bible and two first editions of the King James Bible (1611, 1613).
  • Tandy Bible Collection: Comprises over 76 pieces, including complete Bibles, leaves and limited editions of important facsimiles, as well as secondary books related to the history of the Bible in English. The center piece of the collection is a first edition of the King James Bible (1611) sometimes referred to as the “Great He bible”, and a copy of the “Great She bible”, a 1613 edition of the King James Version.
  • Dr. and Mrs. Jake Barron William Faulkner Rare Books Collection of more than 300 Faulkner volumes.
  • Stanley S. Morton Thomas Wolfe Collection of some 200 items.
  • Rare Books Collection of some 350 first editions and/or books of limited printings.

Simmons Special Collection consists of approximately 3500 books donated by the James B. Simmons family to Hardin-Simmons to begin its first library and almost 1000 volumes of 19th century classics deemed to be too fragile for circulation.


Jesse Wallace Williams Map Collection of about 1000 maps used by and/or produced by Williams in his research and writing of Texas history and given to Rupert Richardson. The collection also includes maps drawn by Richardson for his publications.


Abilene Photograph Collection of some 10,000 historic photographs of Abilene and the region.


B.W. Aston Oral History Collection of oral and/or video interviews and lectures having to do with the history of Abilene, Hardin-Simmons University, and the region.