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Primary Sources: Archives and Manuscript Collections

This guide is intended to introduce primary sources: what they are and where you can find them at Gelman, online, and elsewhere.

Visiting an Archive/Special Collections

Once you have found information on a collection you would like to use (collection title, series number, box and/or folder numbers), you may contact the library or archive to request the material or you may request reproductions of specific documents, files, etc.

After identifying the repository and perhaps specific collections, contact the repository or visit their website to find answers to questions such as: 

1.      What are your hours?

2.      Who is allowed to conduct research in your facility?

3.      What type of information do I need to bring on my first visit?  (e.g., photo ID)

4.      What is the photocopying policy and what is the cost?

5.      Is the material held off-site? Do I need to request it in advance?

6.      May I use a digital camera? Laptop? Do you have electrical outlets in the Reading Room?

7.      If you already have a collection in mind to use, you should ask if that particular collection has any research restrictions.

GW Libraries • 2130 H Street NW • Washington DC 20052202.994.6558AskUs@gwu.edu