The Colophon Collection represents approximately 1,500 items: books, broadsides, a few manuscripts and letters representing those writers whose works are believed to be definitive in establishing "the contours of the spirit-soul-mind of man for the period of 1950-75."
A year after the Friends' inception in 1970, the officers and board of directors recommended that the Friends adopt a central project that would become the focus of a collection policy for which funds raised by the Friends of SMU Libraries would be utilized. The building of the collection began in 1972, under the supervision of the Committee on Acquisitions, chaired by Rabbi Levi Olan. The committee recommended that the Friends focus on works published post-1950 and concluding in 1975 judged to be definitive of the times during this era. A list of authors was established, revised and expanded several times. Although the committee originally foresaw the project lasting only two or three years, it has in fact continued to the present.
This collection has come to be known as the Colophon Collection of Moderns and is unique in its scope. The Moderns Collection is available to scholars for theses and other research work at the DeGolyer Library.