About the Special Collections
The John Jay College Library Special Collections hold unique material related to the mission of the Sealy Library and John Jay College. Materials are in published and unpublished form including books, broadsides, pamphlets, prints, serials and archival materials.
Access to Special Collections
The Lloyd Sealy Library Special Collections welcomes undergraduate, graduate, and public researchers who want to consult our collections. Please contact the Special Collections Librarian at libspcoll [at] jjay.cuny.edu or ebelcher [at] jjay.cuny.edu for ideas about how our unique materials can support your research interests. All Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book items can be consulted in our reading room by making an appointment in advance of your visit.
All users are required to fill out an application for research, present valid identification upon their first visit to Special Collections and sign the visitors log daily. Pencils or laptops only are allowed for taking notes. Photocopies and digital scans from the special collections are completed by library staff for a fee and can be requested only of unbound materials that would not be damaged in the process.
It is recommended that researchers complete secondary research on a topic before embarking upon primary research with the archival collections. If this is your first time doing archival research, we recommend that you consult the SAA e-publication Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research
We actively acquire historically significant materials that document fields related to criminal justice and the history and activities of John Jay College. Archival materials related to the history of John Jay College are generally transferred from college offices. Unpublished manuscript and published materials are acquired by donation or purchase. Please contact the special collections at libspcoll @ jjay.cuny.edu with questions about transferring or donating materials to Special Collections.
Closed Special Collections
Unique and rare materials are available for supervised study in our Special Collections Room. Researchers who wish to use these collections can make an appointment with the Special Collections Librarian.
- Rare Book Collections. The library holds thousands of rare books and pamphlets in criminal justice and other related subjects. Most of these monographs are cataloged in CUNY+.
Manuscript Collections. Special Collections holds several collections of historical personal papers and records of organizations and government agencies involved in Criminal Justice. Finding aids are available for selected collections.
- John Jay College Archives. Special Collections holds approximately 200 linear feet of records documenting the history and activities of John Jay College since its inception. Finding aids are available for portions of the collections.
Digital Special Collections
Selected portions of our Special Collections are now available digitally.
- Crime in New York 1850-1950 Images includes photographs from the Burton Turkus Papers and the Lewis Lawes Papers.
- Crime in New York 1950-1950 Trial Transcripts includes an index to our Criminal Trial Transcripts Collection, a selection from which is available digitally.
- Digital Special Collections at John Jay College available on the CUNY D-Space repository.
Open Special Collections
These unique collections must be used in the library, but are available whenever the library is open. These items are all cataloged in CUNY+ and include:
- Police Department Annual Reports (United States and International).
- John Jay College and CUNY publications, including yearbooks, minutes of the Board of Trustees, Faculty Senate and reports.
- CUNY Criminal Justice Program PhD Dissertations and John Jay MA Theses.
- Microforms of rare and unique research materials held by other repositories.
- Historic monographs and serials too fragile to circulate.
Articles about the Special Collections For more information about our Special Collections, please read:
Belcher, Ellen. (2008)“Crime in the Library: the Special Collections of the Lloyd Sealy Library, John Jay College of Criminal Justice.” Metropolitan Archivist, Summer 2008.
Belcher, Ellen and Ellen Sexton. (2008) "Digitizing criminals: web delivery of a century on the cheap." OCLC Systems & Services, 24/2: 116 - 132
Egan, Nancy (2007) "The Lloyd Sealy Library of John Jay College of Criminal Justice: Academic Library, Special Library, or Both? " Behavioral and Social Sciences Librarian, 25/2: 1-22.
Also the Special Collections are regularly featured in Classified Information, the Lloyd Sealy Library's Newsletter.