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The Metcalf Collection was given to the Libraries in 1956 by Mrs. Mary Luella Metcalf, widow of Dr. Zeno Payne Metcalf. The collection was housed with the Department of Entomology until 1975 when the Libraries set up a "Metcalf Room" in the D. H. Hill Library, adjacent to the Special Collections Reading Room. The collection represents over 11,000 reprints in a variety of formats including microfilm, photostat copies, xerographic copies and original books and article reprints. As part of a library initiative in special collections, the reprint articles of the collection were rehoused in archival containers in 1996. The collection contains materials that date between 1754 and 1965.

Dr. Metcalf devised his own numbering scheme, using the author's name and date of publication, e.g., "Smith 1945," for each article. A letter following the call number refers to each article with the same author and date, e.g., "Smith 1945a," "Smith 1945b." The collection is arranged alphabetically by author. The book collection, however, represents reprints collected in the form of books. Books are accessed through a system of cross references following the author and date scheme. Cross-references direct the researcher to a specific shelf location within a separate book collection, e.g., "5B13," located apart from the article collection. This unique shelf location refers to a specific shelving bay "5" area "B" and location "13." At the completion of this project, library users will have direct access to the book portion of the collection from the Libraries' main public access catalog.

The Metcalf Collection currently has been cataloged and is shelved in a separate sequence from the main books stacks.


All materials are classed together using the original Metcalf shelf location numbers. Occasionally a new title will be added to the collection when a replacement copy is acquired. It is necessary to distinguish between a "replacement" and an addition.

For replacements, use a 500 note regarding the replacement status, stating:

500 Special Collections copy: Replacement copy.

Use the Metcalf classification number already assigned to the original copy.

To create a new Metcalf Call Number

  • Catalog the book as is required in the General Descriptive Cataloging procedures. If the book was published on or before 1820, use DCRB materials cataloging procedures.
  • Create a 710 for the Metcalf collection:

    710 2 Metcalf Collection (North Carolina State University)|5NcRS

  • Create a new Metcalf call number using "1X" and then the next sequential number available. For instance, if "1X1" and "1X2" have been used, use "1X3". Note that the 1 and X are completely arbitrary, but will not be intermixed with the other materials in the Metcalf Collection. These books will be part of the collection, but will remain separate from the original order.
  • Select METCALF for the Classification Scheme.