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Archives & Special Collections



The mission of the Special Collections Department is to procure, preserve, and display or interpret objects which relate to the history of Belmont University.  This history dates to the 19th century, and includes objects related to Ward’s Seminary, Belmont College for Young Women, Ward-Belmont, Belmont College, and Belmont University.  We also house items from the Tennessee College for Women and Cumberland University.  These objects should help to interpret the social, economic, and cultural history, and to provide exhibits for the educational and cultural enrichment of Belmont University.


Online Access

Belmont University Special Collection has partnered with Harpeth Hall to create a digital archives collection, housed on the World Wide Web. The Belmont portion of the collection includes yearbooks, catalogs, and selected school publications, ranging in date from 1898 through 1951.

To access the collection, go to: . Use the search field at the top of the page to search for a particular item, e.g. Milestones. Once an item is opened, the "Read Online" option is the easiest to use, and the text can be searched for individual names or keywords, using the search box at the top right of the screen.


  • Research will be supervised by the library staff person in charge. Research will be done in the Special Collection Room. Patrons will not be left in the Special Collection Room unattended.
  • The library staff person in charge will pull requested materials. At no time will patrons obtain materials for themselves from shelves or file cabinets.
  • All materials will be left as they were found, i.e. all bookmarks, notations, etc. left in place, all file contents remaining in the order in which they were found.
  • All materials are non-circulating.
  • Notes must be taken in pencil only. Pencils are available from the library staff person in charge.
  • Gloves must be worn when handling fragile items. Gloves will be provided by the library staff person.
  • Food or drink is not allowed in the Special Collection Room, or around the materials.
  • The library staff person in charge reserves the right to end a research session if procedures are not being properly followed.
  • Phone and email requests will be processed within 48 hours, or as soon thereafter as possible.


  • Special Collection hours are by appointment only. Patrons should contact the librarian in charge at least 72 hours (3 days) in advance to schedule. Appointments will be scheduled when the library staff person in charge can be present in the Special Collection Room.
  • Patrons must explain the nature of their research and describe the specific materials or types of materials they hope to use. The library staff person in charge will pull requested materials in preparation for the patron’s visit.
  • The library staff person in charge reserves the right to reschedule appointments if necessary.
  • Walk-in visitors will be accommodated if possible, but this cannot be guaranteed.
  • There will be no access to the Special Collection when the library staff person in charge is not in the library. The library staff person reserves the right to approve exceptions at his/her discretion, and will communicate such approval to library staff.

Use of the research:

  • The Belmont University Special Collection is intended to record and preserve the history of the institution. It is available to those with an interest in that particular history, in the history of higher education in this locale over time, and in the activities of relatives who may have attended Belmont University or its forerunners.
  • Any planned commercial use of information or images will require the filing of Belmont University’s Artistic Works License, available from the library staff person in charge.


Requests for copies or scans may be made in person, by phone, or by email.  Copies will be charged $0.10 per page, and scans are free.  We will happily scan up to 40 pages and will send the text via email- the requestor may choose a .jpg, .pdf, or word-searchable .pdf file.  We are unable to duplicate audiovisual material. 

It is the patron’s responsibility to determine the copyright status and to obtain the required permission from the copyright holder.  Other legal restrictions- privacy, publicity, and trademark rights- may also limit a researcher’s use of library materials.