Special Collections and Archival Materials

We have many unique, rare, and special collections, from historic maps and manuscripts to one-of-a-kind instruments and artist books. Here’s how you can find them.

Most of our special collections are only available by request for use in a reading room or other designated library location. See the item’s catalog record or relevant finding aid for information on how to access.

Search the catalog

If you know the exact item you’re looking for, search for it in the catalog. Your search results will include the item’s location or collection information, along with how to request the item for viewing in the library. 

You can also search by subject, format, and more in advanced search mode, or refine your search on the left side of the page when viewing results.

See Tips for Using Library Search for strategies on how to improve and refine your search results. 

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Let us know at Ask a Librarian. We’ll help you determine if we have it.

Use finding aids

Browse finding aids if you’re looking for special or archival materials by topic, or you want more information on what’s included in a collection — such as the list of contents of a box or a folder. (See Workers’ Power Records 1970–1973.) 

Finding aids are especially helpful when you’re searching for unpublished papers or archival materials and need to determine whether the collection will meet your research needs. 

Explore our digital collections 

Explore the image and text collections we’ve digitized and made freely available online. You can search for collections by subject, format, and more.

Ask a specialist

Find a specialist in your area, who can guide you in finding materials of interest.

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