The Smalls’ substantial gift toward the construction of a new special collections building helped to ensure the continued preservation and accessibility of the University’s rarest collections. They include more than 13 million manuscripts, 3.6 million items that are part of the University Archives, 325,000 rare books, approximately 5,000 maps, more than 250,000 photographs and small prints, as well as other visual and audio media.
When Small turned 90, the library’s birthday note mentioned that tens of thousands of students, scholars and visitors have benefited from his generous gifts to the University Library.
Small donated to the library his unique collection of items related to the Declaration of Independence, beginning in 1999. The Declaration of Independence Collection is the most comprehensive in the world about the document, according to the collection’s website, with rare books, letters and other documents that tell about the preparation, production and printing of the Declaration, as well as about the individuals behind this formative moment in American history.
Among the materials are one of 25 known first printings by John Dunlap of the Declaration of Independence; a complete set of autographed letters from all 56 signers, a majority dating from 1776; and various copies of John Trumbull’s famous painting of the signing (although the scene he depicted was fictitious).