American Indian History Collection Policy


subject description and guidelines

The American Indian History collection in Olin Library is comprised of material on the culture and history of native peoples in the United States and Canada. In addition to the material covered in Olin Library, legal and indigenous rights material is collected at the Law Library, music and dance in the Music Library and art in the Fine Arts Library. Mann Library also contributes to the Native American collections with works supporting ethnobotany and natural resources. The literature selector is responsible for native literature in Olin Library.


The collection is intended to support the teaching and research needs of undergraduates, graduate students and faculty in the American Indian Program an interdisciplinary program with faculty from History, Anthropology, English, Geology, Developmental Sociology, Law and Fine Arts.


collection strength

The current collection strength is at the research level. Due to the acquisition of the Huntington Collection described below the current collecting practices attempt to support the traditional strengths of this collection which include books of voyage and exploration, missionary reports, ethnography, travel writing, native rights, and captivity narratives.

collection level


geographical guidelines

The geographical focus of the collection is the United States and Canada

areas of significant geographic coverage

country (self-governing)

  • Canada
  • United States of America 

language guidelines

Material in English is primarily collected with some French language works selectively acquired. Works in Native American languages are also selected.


  • English
  • French

chronological guidelines

The collection spans pre-contact to modern times.


Generally excluded publication formats include textbooks (if designated as such by the publisher); non-Cornell theses and dissertations (with rare exceptions), and reprints.

material types

The collection consists of all formats including journals, monographs, reference sets, microfilm/microfiche collections, native newspapers, audiovisual materials and online databases. For academic journals, electronic access is preferred, though some major journals are acquired in both print and electronic formats.


housed in

  • Olin Library

special collections or noteworthy resources in the field

The Huntington Free Library's Native American Collection was transferred to Cornell University on June 15, 2004 from its former home in the Bronx, New York. One of the largest collections of books and manuscripts of its kind, the Huntington collection contains outstanding materials documenting the history, culture, languages, and arts of the native tribes of both North and South America. Contemporary politics and human rights issues are also important components of the collection. The circulating material has been incorporated into the Olin Library holdings while manuscript and rare material is housed in the Rare and Manuscript Collections in Kroch Library.

related library subject collection


library contact

  • Morris, Maureen -  Reference and Digital Services Librarian