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Primary Sources: Collections available through Cornell: Archives

A guide to digital, print, and archival historical primary sources available at Cornell

Archival Primary Sources

Kroch Rare and Manuscript Collections
The Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections (RMC) is Cornell's principal repository of rare books, manuscripts and archival materials in history, literature, music, the arts, science, natural history, and technology (more info). These collections can be searched for using the Library Catalog. Some collections have finding aids. Visit or email RMC to discuss your research interests with archivists who typically have extensive familiarity with the collections.

Published guides to collections, archives, and libraries help identify and locate manuscripts. Print and online examples are listed below.

Use the Library Catalog to identify archival collections at Cornell RMC.
Use Worldcat or ArchiveGrid to idenfity archival materials or guides to archives Cornell does not own.


Techniques for browsing before you go to RMC

Search the Library Catalog with a term or two related to your topic, then apply either or both of these facets which will appear in the left of your search results:


Cameras in the Archives

Victorian Spy Camera Watch, by Brett Jordan. Source: Flickr.

Archival material cannot typically be checked out, interlibrary loaned, photocopied or scanned. But most will allow you to take photos of pages.  Tips for using a camera

Outside of Cornell

Archive finder
Brings together ArchivesUSA and the cumulative index to the National Inventory of Documentary Sources in the UK and Ireland (NIDS UK/Ireland).

A database of primary source materials held in US archives, libraries, museums and historical societies.

Web Accessibility Assistance