Request a Particular Box within a Collection

Sometimes, researchers who have visited before know exactly which box within a collection they want to see. They may prefer to search for that box rather than looking through the whole finding aid to find it.

Luckily, there’s a very easy way to do this. Once you’re in the finding aid for the collection that you want to see, search for “Box X” (with X, of course, being the box number you’re looking for).

Search for a box within a collection. Be sure to surround your search with quotation marks.

Search for a box within a collection. Be sure to surround your search with quotation marks.

And the results of your search will return records contained in the box you specified.

Here, you see records that are in box 135 of the Harold Medina papers.

Here, you see records that are in box 135 of the Harold Medina papers.

And to request these items, click on the title to go to the entry in the finding aid and click the button that says “Request this Box.”

As always, don’t hesitate to call or email us if you have questions about this process.

Glossary — Arrangement

Arrangement is the order of the materials in a collection. Sometimes, the arrangement of the collection is an exact representation of how the creator kept it. Other times, an archivist or intermediary put materials into a different arrangement. Usually, records are arranged as a hybrid of what worked for the creator and what the archivist anticipated would make sense to users.

Your Comments

In some cases, you may know more about our materials than we do! Please feel free to leave a comment letting us know if you’ve seen a mistake, if you have additional information, or if there’s something that you think other patrons might like to know about our materials.
If you need help, please click the “Get Help” button near the top of the page.
And if you have any feedback about our site as a whole, we would love to hear that too. Just click on the “Site Feedback” button above.

Effective Searching

When searching, it’s good to keep a few things in mind.

  1. Try lots of different terms. “Sylvia Beach letters” will produce different results than “Sylvia Beach correspondence”.
  2. The more words you use in your search, the fewer results will come back to you. “Woodrow Wilson” will produce fewer results than “Wilson”, but not all of the Wilsons that are produced may be about Woodrow.
  3. Using a minus sign (-) will exclude a term from results. If you’re interested in Ray Stannard Baker, but you keep getting results for James A. Baker III, a good search might be “Ray Baker -James”.

Narrowing Search Results

There are two ways of narrowing search results on this site.

First, more search terms will result in fewer results. Notice that the original search term is already in the box — simply add more terms to get more precise results.
If you know that there’s a term that you definitely don’t want to see results for, just put a minus sign ( – ) in front of it. For instance, if you were interested in the history of women at Princeton, but you didn’t want results related to coeducation, simply enter “women Princeton -coeducation”.
Second, you can use the terms on the left of the screen to narrow down your results to entire categories of content.

Advanced tips:
Archival collections are organized by who collected the materials, not what the materials are about. You may be pleasantly surprised by searching outside of the collections that you think an item should be in.
Results in the “name,” “genre,” and “subject” facets can be thought of as tags — if an item has been tagged with any of the terms in the list, it will appear in the revised results. But some relevant results may not have been tagged — narrowing this way may result in missing good material!

Sorting Lists of Materials

This site makes it possible to manipulate long inventories of materials to find what you’re looking for.
From the tree on the left of the page, you can choose a group of records. From there, the center of the screen will show a list of everything in this group (or subgroup) of records.
To sort them chronologically, click on the “Date” heading. You can also sort them alphabetically by clicking the “Title” heading, and sort them into their physical arrangement by clicking the “Container” heading.
In some cases, there may be a list within a list — the container information will say “Multiple Containers”. Simply click on that title to see the contents held within.