Archives and Manuscript Collections


To identify quickly the most significant collections of a person's papers, look up the person in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and consult the "Archives" section at the end of the entry.

National Union Catalogues

  • The National Archives: Search the Archives
    "The National Archives, which covers England, Wales and the United Kingdom, was formed in April 2003 by bringing together the Public Record Office and the Historical Manuscripts Commission. It is responsible for looking after the records of central government and the courts of law, and making sure everyone can look at them." Its "Search the Archives" page provides access to its Catalogue (which contains "9.5 million descriptions of documents from central government, courts of law and other UK national bodies, including records on family history, medieval tax, criminal trials, UFO sightings, the history of many countries and many other subjects"). It also provides links to and descriptions of other major British archival catalogues.
  • RLG Union Catalog - AMC File Search Form
    "The RLG Union Catalog is a comprehensive database that serves as a major union catalog of records describing books, serials, archival collections, manuscripts, maps, musical scores, sound recordings, films, photographs, posters, computer files, electronic resources and more. The RLG Union Catalog reflects the collections of major research libraries; academic, public, corporate and national libraries; archives and museums; historical societies and international book vendors."

A Selective Guide to Collections Worldwide

  • Guide to British Archives
    "A list of some of the guides describing archival collections in Great Britain, including both official archives and personal papers, which are available either online or in print.  It also includes sources describing official and unofficial records relating to the former colonies and to other foreign countries."
  • Guides to European Archives
    "A list of some of the guides to European archives, including both official archives and personal papers, which are available either online or in print.  These guides focus on European history, and do not as a rule include sources relating to official or unofficial records of the former colonies.  This list does not include sources for medieval manuscripts; for an introduction to medieval sources, check A Basic Bibliography in Medieval History."

Collections Available on Microform

Some archival and manuscript collections have been reproduced in microform sets. Below are some tips on identifying and accessing such sets.

Sets at Columbia University Libraries

In CLIO, do a Guided Keyword search for:

archives sources in Subject
and
england in Subject

Note: In place of "england," use whichever geographical name is most appropriate for your research: for example, great britain, ireland, etc.

Title: Archives of the House of Longman, 1794-1914 [microform].
Physical Description: 73 microfilm reels ; 35 mm.
Series: British publishers’ archives on microfilm
Publisher/ Date: Cambridge [Cambridgeshire] : Chadwyck-Healey ; Teaneck, N.J. : Somerset House, 1978.

LC Subjects: Longman (Firm)--Archives.
Publishers and publishing--England--History--Sources.

Location (guide): Butler Microforms, 401 Butler
Call Number: MICROFLM F a7897
Location Has: 73 reels