Archives & Special Collections

The Moakley Archive and Institute preserves Suffolk University’s unique collections including the University Archives, manuscripts, oral history projects, digital collections, and rare book collections.

All materials are available to the Suffolk University community and the general public. Materials housed in the Moakley Archive and the Zieman Rare Book Room are available for in-library use in the Moakley Archive Reading Room, Monday - Friday from 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Please contact Archive staff or call 617-305-6277 for access and for general inquiries. Users can also browse thousands of items online via the Archive’s Digital Collections site.

Archival Collections

The Clark Collection of African American Literature includes nearly 6,000 volumes and represents the works of more than 15,000 authors and artists. The collection was founded by Suffolk University Edward Clark in 1971, in collaboration with the Museum of African American History and the National Park Service's Boston African American National Historic Site. The collection is directed by Robert Bellinger, associate professor of history, and managed by the Moakley Archive. Learn more about the collection's highlights

Browse the full list in the library catalog. The majority of items are available in the library's general collection. Rare or fragile items shelved in the Zieman Rare Book Room can be accessed by contacting the Moakley Archive. 

Collection Highlights

  • Unpublished manuscripts by artists Allan Rohan Crite and Benny Andrews
  • Works by New England writers of color
  • African history and geography
  • Twentieth-century fiction
  • Journals and pamphlets
  • Poetry, drama, and lyrics
  • Literary criticism and studies

Explore the historical collections of Suffolk University’s Moakley Archive & Institute to learn more about Suffolk’s history through documents, photographs, oral histories, yearbooks, and more. Our special collections document a wide range of topics including school desegregation in Boston, El Salvador’s Civil War, women in the French Resistance, and the life and career of Congressman Joe Moakley (JD '56).

The Archive, located on the 3rd floor of the Sawyer Library, is open to all and free to use. We offer many programs and services including:research assistance, classroom instruction, records management, public events, and exhibitions. Please stop by, contact us, or search and browse our digital collections anytime at moakleyarchive.omeka.net.

The Zieman Poetry Collection was donated to Suffolk in 1956 by Irving Pergament Zieman (1891-1970), a businessman and poet. His personal collection included more than 2,000 books and pamphlets, including 600 leather-bound classics and 1,200 books of modern English and American poetry. The dates of these works range from the early 1600s through the 1970s. Among the volumes are several first editions with fore-edge paintings and hand tooling. The collection features a variety of poetry genres and notable authors such as Hentry Wadsworth Longfellow, Helen Hunt (H.H.), William Blake, Oscar Wilde (C.3.3.), and T.S. Eliot. Browse the complete list of items in the library catalog. 

The Broadside Collection includes more than pieces of contemporary poetry presented on paper with illustrations and sometimes signed by the author. Browse the complete list of items in the library catalog. 

The Sawyer Library Poetry Collection includes Suffolk's poetry journal, Salamander, and signed works of authors who have held readings at the Poetry Center. Browse the complete list of items in the library catalog.  

Most of the poetry materials are available in the library's general collection. Rare or fragile items shelved in the Zieman Rare Book Room are available for in-library use. Contact the Moakley Archive for access. See additional titles in the Clark Collection of African American Literature. 

Through a partnership with the New England chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, the Sawyer Library is now home to the Freedmen’s Bureau Microfilm Collection. The Bureau was established by the US government in 1865 to help former slaves make the transition to freedom. The microfilm collection includes thousands of original, handwritten documents that recount the African-American experience in the post-civil war and Reconstruction eras.

The complete set of microfilm is available for research on the Library’s 3rd floor. Browse the complete list of reels in the library catalog. The National Archives and Records Administration website provides an in-depth overview of the collection and its context.