|Scope and History of the Collection
The Doy Leale McCall Rare Book and Manuscript Library was founded as the USA Photographic Archives in 1978. The catalyst for the collection grew out of the work of two history professors. In 1975, Drs. Michael Thomason and Melton McLaurin were working on an illustrated history of the city. In conjunction with that project, they located a large photographic collection -- circa 100,000 negatives -- being held at the city's public library. Through a series of negotiations, the two convinced the city to donate the collection to the university and the university to establish a photographic archive.
From those beginnings, The Doy Leale McCall Rare Book and Manuscript Library has grown to have -- at approximately 1,200,000 negatives -- one of the largest collections of photographs in this region, and has added to that a substantial assortment of manuscript and other collections. Our collection policy emphasizes the preservation of photographs, manuscripts, and records that document, from the nineteenth century forward, Mobile, south Alabama, and the University of South Alabama. We also preserve incunabula and other rare volumes that have been donated to the university. We also have a large collection of reference materials such as city directories, newspapers, books, and journals which support the collections and are available to researchers.
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