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The Special Collections Research Center at Syracuse University, formerly known as the George Arents Research Library, began as a part of the University’s fledgling library after founding of the school in 1870. A generous donation made possible the first major acquisition of the special collections in 1887 with the purchase of the library of Leopold von Ranke, the founder of modern historical research technique. Since that time the SCRC has continued to expand its horizons and broaden its collections to represent a plethora of topics and research interests. The manuscript and rare book collections of SCRC complement each other in many areas and a number of special collections include both printed and manuscript works.

In 2016 University Archives and the Belfer Audio Archive and Preservation Laboratory merged with SCRC, creating a unified repository and research center for library collections.