Welcome to Special Collections

the Special Collections reading room at the MSU Library

The Reading Room

The Special Collections unit of the Michigan State University Libraries collects, houses, and preserves rare and unique materials within the MSU Libraries. Our materials cover a vast array of topics from Africana to Veterinary Medicine. These materials are available to the public in our reading room.

Learn more: About Us »

Discover Special Collections

The plates in David Low's The Breeds of the Domestic Animals of the British Isles (London, 1842), form a highly valuable record of the state of animal husbandry at the start of the period when agriculture came to be considered a science. Many of the breeds shown are now extinct, although they are forerunners of today's breeds of domestic animals. Low, who was a professor of agriculture at the University of Edinburgh, hoped in his book to help farmers and breeders understand the importance of matching a breed to its environment while improving productivity. In addition to Low's text, William Shiels was commissioned to produce a series of paintings of all the significant breeds then of importance in Great Britain. William Nicholson made the drawings after Shiels' paintings to convert them to hand colored lithographed plates.


Special Collections
MSU Libraries
366 W. Circle Drive
East Lansing
MI, 48824


During the Fall and Spring semesters when classes are in session, Special Collections is open for the following hours:

Mon - Fri: 9am to 5pm
Sun: 1pm - 5pm

See the hours' web page for the most up to date hours.