The search results on our site will often take you very close to what you were looking for. If this is all the information you need, you can request the item and have it brought to you in our reading room.
But sometimes researchers want to get a broader understanding of what this material is and where it came from. Luckily, there’s usually plenty more information about the rest of the materials in the collection, where they came from, what they’re about, and who collected them.
The “Collection History” tab near the left of the finding aid will tell you about what happened to this material before it came to us, and how archivists intervened in the preparation of these records for research use.
Archivists also write short essays providing a sense of the history of the materials and a general sense of what a researcher will find within. You can find that information on the “Description” tab on the left.
For a quick view of how the materials in the collection are arranged, click on the “Contents” tab. This will often give a short explanation of how and why materials were arranged this way, and will also show an abstraction of the collection’s contents.