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Manuscripts

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The Special Collections and University Archives Department at the Richard J. Daley Library houses archival records of individuals and organizations that document the political, social and cultural history of Chicago, with a focus on the 20th and 21st centuries. The strengths of the manuscript collection include the history of the Hull-House settlement; A Century of Progress World's Fair; Chicago design history; Midwest women's history; and the history of African Americans in Chicago. Collections containing information about the history of medicine can be found in the Special Collections and University Archives Department at the Library of the Health Sciences-Chicago.

What Are Archival Materials and Manuscripts?

Archives are made up of records which have been accumulated over the course of an individual's or organization's lifetime. These records are often unique and unpublished. For example, the archives of an individual, referred to as manuscript collections or personal papers, may contain letters, papers, photographs, computer files, scrapbooks, financial records, diaries or any other kind of documentary materials created or collected by the individual--regardless of media or format. The archives of an organization (such as a corporation or non-profit agency), on the other hand, tend to contain different types of records, such as administrative files, business records, memos, official correspondence, meeting minutes, and so on. Archival records created by an individual or organization are normally kept together in a single collection. Archivists inventory and organize collections of archival records and describe them in finding aids. A finding aid assists users to discover and understand the context of materials in a collection.