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Find a manuscript collection

Manuscript collections are the historical papers of significant people and organizations. You can access these collections in the Special Collections and University Archives reading rooms in the Richard J. Daley Library or in the Library of the Health Sciences-Chicago.

Why use a manuscript collection?

Manuscript collections offer a key to the study of the past. As unique primary sources, they contain one-of-a-kind documents, photographs and artifacts.

What collections do you have?

Search Special Collections’ list of archival finding aids, or search University Archives’ finding aids.

Ask a Librarian for help.

Learn more about using archival finding aids.

Can anyone access these collections?

Yes! Our collections are freely available and open to the public. The Special Collections and University Archives department supports the educational and research activities of UIC students and faculty, visiting scholars and the research community at large.

Most collections can be accessed by anyone. We particularly welcome

  • UIC faculty and students
  • Visiting researchers
  • History Fair students
  • General public

Can I borrow manuscript collections?

No. Because our collections are unique and often fragile, you must access them in the reading rooms at the Daley Library or at the Library of Health Sciences-Chicago.

Occasionally museums, libraries or other heritage institutions that meet stringent insurance requirements do borrow our materials for exhibits and other purposes.

 What kinds of collections do you have?

Our collections focus primarily on these aspects of Chicago history:

  • Business and Economy
  • Design
  • Gilded Age and Progressive Era
  • Medicine
  • Politics and government
  • Settlement houses
  • Social justice

Notable collections

For more collections see our list of archival finding aids.

Our reading rooms have special hours

For the most up-to-date information on when we are open, see Daley Library (hours and dates open) and the Library of the Health Sciences-Chicago (hours and days open).

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