Archives and Manuscripts

 General sources for archives and manuscripts are listed in Library Research Guide for Finding Manuscripts and Archival Collections

Hidden Collections Registry reports newly processed archival and special collections.

General Guides

Much of the material in these guides has been incorporated into more recent sources, but they are still sometimes useful.

Bridson, G. 2008. Manuscript resources and catalogues. Pp. 302-325 in The History of Natural History: An Annotated Bibliography: a guide to sources of information: histories, bibliographies, biographies, library resources, etc. 2nd ed. London: The Linnean Society of London, 1032 p.
Botany Arnold (Cambr.) | QH15.Z99 B75 2008x
Museum Comp Zoology | Ref. | Z7405.H6 B75 2008
Widener | RR 5201.20.10

Western scientific manuscripts before 1600: a checklist of published catalogues, by S. A. Jayawardene. Annals of Science 35(2): 143-172, 1978.

Warnow-Blewett, J. 1992. Documenting recent science: progress and needs. Pp. 267-298 in Science after '40 (Osiris, 2nd series, v. 7).
--Appendix A. Discipline History Centers in the United States, pp. 285-290 - Short descriptions, including publications and where collections are reported (RLIN, NUCMC, OCLC).
--Appendix B. Historical Documentation Projects in the United States, pp. 290-294. - Brief descriptions. Indicates repositories where material collected is available.
--Appendix C. Catalogs of source materials for science and technology, pp. 295-298. - Catalogs and guides for archives and disciplinary history centers, largely U.S., a few overseas.


McCarthy, G., ed. 1991. Guide to the Archives of Science in Australia: Records of Individuals. Port Melbourne: Thorpe, 291 pp.

Tirmizi, S. A. I. 1982. Guide to Records Relating to Science and Technology in the National Archives of India: a RAMP Study. New Delhi: National Institute of Science, Technology, and Development Studies, 115 pp.


Les archives des scientifiques, XVIe-XXe siècle: guide des fonds conservés en France, by Thérèse Charmasson, Marion Daniel, Catherine Gaziello et Carole Rota-Tréguier. Paris : Éditions du Comité des travaux historiques et scientifiques, 2008, 629 p.


Deutsche Bibliothek. 1993. Inventar zu den Nachlassen emigrierter deutschsprachiger Wissenschaftler in Archiven und Bibliotheken der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, ed. by K. -D. Lehmann. 2 v. Nachlassverzeichnisse zur deutschsprachigen Emigration. (Sonderveroffentlichungen der Deutschen Bibliothek no. 19).

Great Britain

MacLeod, R. M. & J. R. Friday, ed. 1972. Archives of British Men of Science. London: Mansell. 40 pp. + microfiche 1-58. MacLeod, R. M. 1973. Also: Supplement to the First Edition. Brighton: University of Sussex, 1 printed sheet: "Index to supplementary fiche" + microfiche 59-64.
--Locates papers of around 3400 British scientists active from 1870 to 1950. England and Wales are more thoroughly covered than Scotland and Ireland. Includes list of scientists for whom collections were not found.

MacLeod, R. M., J. R. Friday, and C. Gregor. 1975. The Corresponding Societies of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1883-1929: A Survey of Historical Records, Archives and Publications. London: Mansell, 147 pp.

NAHSTE: Navigational Aids for the History of Science, Technology and the Environment offers links to inventories of collections of the archives of Scottiish scientists and institutions.

Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts. 1982. The Manuscript Papers of British Scientists, 1600-1940. (Guides to Sources for British History, 2) London: HM Stationary Office, 109 pp. --Gives locations for the papers of 635 prominent scientists (technologists applying new principles are included), active between xx and 1940 selected by the Royal Society of London.


Gli Archivi per la storia della scienza e della tecnica: atti del convegno internazionale, Desenzano del Garda, 4-8 giugno 1991. 2 v. Pubblicazioni degli archivi di Stato. Saggi; 36. Roma: Ministero per i beni culturali e ambientali, Ufficio centrale per i beni archivistici, 1995.
--Articles on contents of numerous Italian archives.

Procissi, A. 1959- . La collezione galileiana della Biblioteca nazionale di Firenze. Indici e cataloghi. (Nuova serie; 5). Roma: Istituto poligrafico dello Stato, Libreria dello Stato.


Virtual Guide to the History of Russian Science and Technology

United States

Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation (Smithsonian Institution) Archives database contains records for invention, technology, and science-related collections in archives, libraries, historical societies, and museums in the US and Canada.

Elliott, C. A. 1974. Sources for the history of science in the Harvard University Archives. Harvard Library Bulletin 22: 49-71.

Layton, E. T., Jr. 1971. A Regional Union Catalogue of Manuscripts Relating to the History of Science and Technology Located in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. Cleveland, OH: Case Western Reserve University (Program in the History of Science and Technology no. 1), 215 pp.

Rider, R. E. & H. E. Lowood. 1985. Guide to Sources in Northern California for History of Science and Technology. Berkeley: Office for the History of Science and Technology, University of California (Berkeley Papers in History of Science, 10), 194 pp.
--List of manuscript/archival collections and oral histories by institution.

Spalek, J. M. & S. H. Hawrylchak. 1978, 1992, 1995. Guide to the Archival Materials of the German-Speaking Emigration to the United States after 1933. 3 v. München: Saur.


List of Archival Collections (American Mathematical Society) lists mathematicians with the locations of their papers.


Gull, C. D. & C. L. Smith, eds. 1989. A Directory of Sources for Air and Space History: Primary Historical Collections in United States Repositories: A Preliminary Edition. Washington, DC: National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, 312 pp.

Dick, Steven J., Stephen J. Garber, Jane H. Odom. 2009. Research in NASA history a guide to the NASA history program. 3rd ed. Washington, DC : NASA History Division, NASA Headquarters, 2009. 1 online resource (86 p.)

Weiner, C. & J. N. Warnow. 1971. Source materials for the recent history of astronomy and astrophysics: A checklist of manuscript collections in the United States. (American Institute of Physics, National Catalog of Sources for the History of Physics no. 2,) Journal for the History of Astronomy, v. 2, pp. 210-218.


International Archival Catalog (ICOS) (Center for the History of Physics, American Institute of Physics)

Complemented by full-text Physics History Finding Aids

Kuhn, T. S. et al. 1967. Sources for History of Quantum Physics: An Inventory and Report. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society (Memoirs no. 68), 176 pp.

The International Catalog of Sources for History of Physics and Allied Sciences: Archival Catalog. Center for the History of Physics, American Institute of Physics, NY
--New entries announced in the Center for the History of Physics Newsletter, 1969- .

Lindberg, D. C. 1975. A Catalogue of Medieval and Renaissance Optical Manuscripts. (Subsidia mediaevalia 4). Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 142 pp.

Niels Bohr Library. 1994. Guide to the Archival Collections in the Niels Bohr Library at the American Institute of Physics. College Park, MD: American Institute of Physics (International Catalog of Sources for History of Physics and Allied Sciences, Report no. 7), 574 pp. [Includes the Library's collections of microfilm, oral history interviews, and finding aids from other collections worldwide]

Supplement to the Guide to the Archival Collections in the Niels Bohr Library at the American Institute of Physics. (International Catalog of Sources for History of Physics and Allied Sciences, rept. no. 8). College Park, MD: American Institute of Physics, 95 pp.

Warnow, J. N. 1969. A Selection of Manuscript Collections at American Repositories. (National Catalog of Sources for History of Physics, report no. 1) NY: American Institute of Physics, 73 pp.

Warnow-Blewett, J. & J. Teichmann. 1992. Guide to Sources for History of Solid State Physics. (AIP International Catalog of Sources for History of Physics and Allied Sciences, report no. 6) NY: American Institute of Physics, 156 pp.

Warnow-Blewett, J. 1993. Catalog of Sources for Laser History. (AIP International Catalog of Sources for History of Physics and Allied Sciences, report no. 8) NY: American Institute of Physics. Not at Harvard

Wheaton, B. R. & J. L. Heilbron. 1982. An Inventory of Published Letters to and from Physicists, 1900-1950. (Berkeley Papers in History of Science, 6) Berkeley: University of California, Office for the History of Science and Technology, 102 pp. + 4 microfiche.

Wheaton, B. R. 1992. Inventory of Sources for History of Twentieth-Century Physics: Report and Microfiche index to 700 000 Letters. Stuttgart: Verlag für die Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften und der Technik, 294 pp., 61 microfiches. Description available.


Database of Alchemical Manuscripts

Guide to the Chemical History of Chicago includes time line and list of archival collections.

Chemical heritage, 1992- (Philadelphia, PA: Chemical Heritage Foundation) Continues News, 1988-1991 (Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry) which continues CHOC News, 1982-1987 (American Chemical Society, Center for the History of Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania)

Carries announcements of newly available archival collections.

MacPhail, I. et al. 1968-1977. Alchemy and the Occult: A Catalogue of Books and Manuscripts from the Collection of Paul and Mary Mellon. 4 v. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. [V. 1-2, printed books; v. 3-4, manuscripts]

Singer, D. W. 1928-31. Catalogue of Latin and Vernacular Alchemical Manuscripts in Great Britain and Ireland, dating from before the XVI Century. 3 v. Brussels, M. Lamertin.

Tselos, G. D. & C. Wickey. 1987. A Guide to Archives and Manuscript Collections in the History of Chemistry and Chemical Technology. Philadelphia: Center for the History of Chemistry (Publication no. 7). 198 pp.

Wilson, W. J. 1939. Catalogue of Latin and Vernacular Alchemical Manuscripts in the United States and Canada. Brugis: Officina Sanctae Catharinae, 836 pp.


Fleming, J. R. 1989. Guide to Historical Resources in the Atmospheric Sciences: Archives, Manuscripts, and Special Collections in the Washington, D.C. Area. Boulder, CO: National Center for Atmospheric Research, Climate and Global Dynamics Division (NCAR Technical Note, NCAR-327+1A), 167 pp. Not at Harvard


Benson, K. R. and P. F. Rehbock, eds. 2002. Oceanographic History: the Pacific and Beyond. (International Congress on the History of Oceanography (5th: 1993: La Jolla, San Diego, Calif.)). Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 556 pp.

Day, D. Resources for the study of oceanography at the archives of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, pp. 526-531.

Henson, P. M. Sources for the history of oceanography at the Smithsonian Institution and the National Archives, pp. 532-536.

McConnell, A. 1990. Directory of Source Materials for the History of Oceanography. Unesco Technical Papers in Marine Science, no. 58, 40 pp. Not at Harvard


Toneatto, L. 1994-95. Codices artis mensoriae: i manoscritti degli antichi opuscoli latini d'agrimensura (V-XIX sec.). 3 v. (Testi, studi, strumenti; 5). Spoleto: Centro italiano di studi sull'alto Medioevo.

Environmental Sciences/Ecology

Guide to Environmental History Archival Collections (Forest History Society). Selected new archival entries are printed as Biblioscope: An Archival Guide and Bibliography published in Environmental History, (1996- ) which continues Forest and Conservation History (1990-95).

Corvol, A. & I. Richefort, eds. 1995. Nature, environnement et paysage, l'heritage du XVIIIe siecle: guide de recherche archivistique et bibliographique. Paris: L'Harmattan, 295 pp.

Life Sciences

Bearman, D. & J. T. Edsall, eds. 1980. Archival Sources for the History of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: A Reference Guide and Report. Boston: American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 338 pp. + 6 microfiches

Bridson, G. D. R., V. C. Phillips & A. P. Harvey. 1981. Natural History Manuscript Resources in the British Isles. London: Mansell; NY: Bowker, 473 pp.

Linnaean Correspondence [Full text]

Mendel Newsletter (Library of the American Philosophical Society) contains articles on archival resources for the history of genetics and allied sciences. Check the index to see if one of the issues has an article on your topic.

Root, N. J. 1987. Catalog of the American Museum of Natural History Film Archives. NY: Garland, 410 pp. [Film records of AMNH expeditions]

Stieber, M. T. 1982. Register of plant collector's field notes held in North American institutions. Huntia, v. 4, no. 3, pp. 151-202.

Thackray, J. 1995. Catalogue of Manuscripts and Drawings in the General Library of the Natural History Museum. London: Mansell (Natural History Museum, Historical Studies of the Life and Earth Sciences, v. 4), 128 pp.

Descriptions of 380 collections of manuscripts, drawings, photographs and films. Not at Harvard.


Guide to Library and Archival Collections of African Americans in Medicine and Biomedical Research

History of Medicine Finding Aids Consortium offers keyword searches over a union catalog of finding aids (inventories) from 35 Ame

rican repositories (about 3600 collections).

New, newly available or underused archival material of interest to historians of medicine are listed monthly in REMEDIA

Lawson, B. M 1991. Manuscripts on the History of Medicine at the Massachusetts Historical Society. Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 3rd Series, v. 103, pp. 157-190.

Rosenkrantz, B. G. 1972. Bibliographic essay. Pp. 225-243 in Public health and the State: changing views in Massachusetts, 1842-1936. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
LOCATION: Widener: WID-LC RA447.M4 R68 Library has: 2 copies
LOCATION: Widener: Med 4241.20 and other Harvard libraries
--Overview of primary sources for history of public health in Massachusetts.

Selected Special Collections and Archives in the History of Medicine, Yale University

Trew Letter Collection / Briefsammlung Trew. Letters of the Nuremberg physician and natural scientist, Christoph Jakob Trew (1695-1769).

A Directory of History of Medicine Collections includes contacts, scope, and highlights for several dozen library, archive, and museum collections in the U. S., Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland, and the U. K.


FDA Notices of Judgment Collection, 1906-1964 is a digital archive of the notices judgment for products seized under authority of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act and the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The Notices of Judgment serve to index the over 2,000 linear feet of the evidence files used to prosecute each case. These files include materials such as correspondence, lab results, photographs, and product samples and labeling.

Griffenhagen, G. B., E. W. Stieb, and B. D. Fisher. 1999. A guide to pharmacy museums and historical collections in the United States and Canada. Madison, WI: American Institute of the History of Pharmacy (Publication no. 18 (new series)), 143 p.
Location : Countway Medicine QV 27 G849g 1999
Online version


Nursing History Centers, Museums and Archives (American Association of the History of Nursing)


Sokal, M. M. and P. A. Rafail. 1982. A Guide to Manuscript Collections in the History of Psychology and Related Areas. Millwood, NY: Kraus International Publications, 212 pp.


The National Anthropological Archives at the Smithsonianis a guide to the collections of the NAA, online version of the printed catalog, with a collection of links.


Hammond, C. A. 1988. Bibliography of farm diaries and account books. Pp. 170-187 in The Farm, ed. by Peter Benes. (Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife: Annual Proceedings 1986). Boston, MA: Boston University.

Farm and garden diaries, account books, weather records, etc., published or unpublished, in northeastern U. S. repositories.

Historical Farm Records: A Summary Guide to Manuscripts and other Material in the University Library Collected by the Institute of Agricultural History and the Museum of English Rural Life. Reading: University of Reading, Library, 1973. 320 pp.


Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation (Smithsonian Institution) Archives database contains records for invention, technology, and science-related collections in archives, libraries, historical societies, and museums in the US and Canada.

Bertuca, D. J., D. K. Hartman, & S. M. Neumeister. 1996. The World's Columbian Exposition: A Centennial Bibliographic Guide. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 440 pp.
--Bibliography of primary sources on the Chicago 1893 Exposition. Includes: collections of archives/manuscripts (pp. 303-335), collections of ephemera and exhibit material (pp. 337-344), and collections of photographs and illustrations (pp. 345-359).

Bedi, J. E., R. R. Kline & C. Semsel. 1989. Sources in Electrical History: Archives and Manuscript Collections in U. S. Repositories. NY: Center for the History of Electrical Engineering, 234 pp.

Bruemmer, B. H. 1987. Resources for the History of Computing: A Guide to U.S. and Canadian Records. Minneapolis, MN: Charles Babbage Institute, Center for the History of Information Processing of the University of Minnesota, 187 pp.

Cortada, J. W., ed. 1990. Archives of Data Processing History. A Guide to Major U.S. Collections. NY: Greenwood, 181 pp.

Higham, R., ed. 2000. Official Military Historical Offices and Sources. 2 v. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Benson, J., R. G. Neville, & C. H. Thompson. 1981. Bibliography of the British Coal Industry: Secondary Literature, Parliamentary and Departmental Papers, Mineral Maps and Plans, and a Guide to Sources. Oxford; NY: Published for the National Coal Board by Oxford University Press, 760 pp.

Morris, P. J. T. & C. A. Russell. 1988. Archives of the British Chemical Industry, 1750-1914: A Handlist. British Society for the History of Science Monograph 6, 273 pp.

Records of British Business and Industry, 1760-1914: Textiles and Leather. (Guides to Sources for British History, 8)London: Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, 1990. 130 pp.

Records of British Business and Industry, 1760-1914: Metal Processing and Engineering. (Guides to Sources for British History Based on the National Register of Archives, 9) London: Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, 1994, 188 pp.

Bromley, J. 1977. The Clockmakers' Library: The Catalogue of the Books and Manuscripts in the Library of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers. London: Sotheby Parke Bernet Publications, 136 pp.

Bracken, J. K. & C. H. Sterling. 1995. Telecommunications Research Resources: An Annotated Guide. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 173 pp.
--lists of museums (pp. 20-22); lists of archives & libraries (pp. 23-36).

Institution of Engineering & Technology Archives On-line Catalogue includes The National Archive for Electrical Science and Technology (Great Britain)

Hounshell, D. C. 1973. Manuscripts in U.S. Depositories Relating to the History of Electrical Engineering and Technology. Washington, DC: Division of Electricity and Nuclear Energy, Smithsonian Institution, 116 pp. Not at Harvard

UK National Archive for the History of Computing

Yost, J. R. 2002. A bibliographic guide to resources in scientific computing, 1945-1975. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 263 p.
--Chapters on major subject areas: Physical, Cognitive, Biological, Medical.

Allard, D. C., M. L. Crawley & M. W. Edmison. 1979. U. S. Naval History Sources in the United States. Washington, DC: Naval History Division, Dept. of the Navy, 235 pp.

Manwaring, G. E. 1930. A Bibliography of British Naval History: A Biographical and Historical Guide to Printed and Manuscript Sources. London: Routledge, 163 pp.

Business History

Armstrong, J. 1991. An introduction to archival research in business history. Business History, v. 33, no. 1, pp. 7-34.

Armstrong, J., and S. Jones. 1987. Business Documents: Their Origins, Sources, and Uses in Historical Research. London, NY: Mansell Pub., 251 pp.

Bruemmer, B. H. & S. Hochheiser. 1989. The High-Technology Company: A Historical Research and Archival Guide. Minneapolis, MN: Charles Babbage Institute, Center for the History of Information Processing, University of Minnesota, 131 pp.

Business Archives, 1959- . London: Business Archives Council.

Directory of Corporate Archives in the United States and Canada (Society of American Archivists, Business Archives Section) lists extant companies holding their own records or contracting with an archival firm.

Richmond, L. & B. Stockford. 1986. Company Archives: The Survey of the Records of 1000 of the First Registered Companies in England and Wales. Aldershot, Hants; Brookfield, VT: Gower, 593 pp.

Richmond, L. & A. Turton. 1987. Directory of Corporate Archives: Some Members of the Business Archives Council which Maintain Archive Facilities. 2nd ed. London: Business Archives Council, 75 pp.