The manuscript section of Special Collections & Archives collects historical materials originating from outside Utah State University. The geographic scope for the department's manuscript collections range from local to international and cover a wide variety of topics. Local collections include items such as letters and diaries from individuals as well as records from local businesses and organizations. Collections with a statewide interest include the personal and research papers of two prominent Utah historians: Leonard J. Arrington and S. George Ellsworth. One of the department's major international collections is the papers of Thomas G. Masaryk, the first President of Czechoslovakia.
The most prominent manuscript collection in Special Collections and Archives is the Jack London papers. Utah State University has the second largest archival collection of London materials in the world. The collection contains a wide variety of items including correspondence, manuscripts, autographed first editions of London's works, and personal family pictures.
Over the years the manuscript section has focused its collecting efforts on several specific topics such as agriculture, water development, and the Intermountain West. In addition to Jack London, some other areas in which Utah State University's manuscript holdings have a national reputation include Mormon history and American folklore. (USU is the official repository for the papers of the American Folklore Society.)