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Primary Sources: Digital and Physical 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.

Content Warning

When working with historical materials, you may encounter racist, oppressive, or outdated language and imagery in specific materials or represented in the wider archival record.

Steps to Using the University Archives at Gelman

Search and Browse: By keyword, by subject, by collection name. Be sure to visit the list of University Archives collections.

Identify: Find the specific collection and take note of the series number, box number, and folder number for items of potential relevance to your research.

Request: Email speccoll@gwu.edu to order boxes or books. Most of the collections are housed off site and take 3-5 business days to be delivered. Build in this time to your project timeline. 

Use: Once your materials arrive we will contact you at which point you can access the boxes and/or books for use in the Special Collections reading room. See our hours and other information about using materials here. Bring a camera and take photos when you're on site. Remember to take thorough notes to inform proper citation of materials. 

Contact us at any timeWe are here to answer questions and help point you to relevant materials at any stage of your research. 

Online Resources from the GW University Archives

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