The finding aids in this site tend to describe collections of materials.
Our collections are usually organized by the person who created the materials, not by subject, time, or place.
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.
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.
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.