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Research Resources: Class Guides

AMS 171: Franklin's College and Beyond

Reference Resources - Encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks and bibliographies

Reference or secondary sources are informational resources written by individuals who were not the actual participants in the topic at hand. They may be of value to your research since they often provide greater objectivity and different perspectives as a result of the passage of time. Common secondary sources include encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, and bibliographies.

Please Note: The general call number range for the United States is E151-E909

Encyclopedia of Education
Ref LB 15 .E47 2003

Encyclopedia of American education
Ref LB 17 .U54 2001

Women in Higher Education
Ref LC 1569 .W66 2002

Historical Dictionay of Women's Education in the United States
Ref LC 1752 .H57 1998

American Eras
Ref E 169.1 .A4719

The Writer's Guide to Everyday life in Colonial America
Ref E 162 .T26 1997

The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in the 1800's
Ref E 165 .M5

Encyclopedia of American Cultural and Intellectual History
Ref E 169.1 .E624 2001

Encyclopedia of the United States in the 19th Century
Ref E 169.1 .E626 2001

Encyclopedia of the American Civil War
Ref E 468 .H47 2000

The Encyclopedia of Women's History in America
Ref HQ 1410 .C85

How to find and locate books and films

  • Click here to link to the F&M Library Catalog. In finding books for this class, try using the keyword and subject terms mentioned above.
  • When you discover a book of interest, select the title to see the complete "Item Information." Click on "Catalog Record" to look at the assigned subject headings for that item. Note related subject headings, and click on them to find other books that are described in a similar way, and may prove useful.
  • Remember to search out call numbers in both the STACKS and the REFERENCE ROOM. Call numbers are designed to mirror themselves in these two areas. If you find a valuable book in the STACKS, you will find similar, high quality REFERENCE items under the same call number in the REFERENCE ROOM.

How to find and locate journal articles

Start by consulting the following electronic resources:

A collection of full-text articles from over 1500 scholarly journals, many dating from the nineteenth-century to the last 4 or 5 years. Select Advanced Search to strategically search amongst 45 disciplines. Choose PDF from within JStor to properly view and print articles.

OmniFile Full Text Mega
Access to full text articles, page images, article abstracts, and citations from thousands of sources. Coverage back as early as 1982.

New York Times Full Text (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)
The New York Times (Sep 18, 1851 - Dec 31, 2007, full-text) offers full page and article images with searchable full text back to the first issue. The collection includes digital reproductions providing access to every page from every available issue.

America: History and Life
Comprehensive bibliography of articles on the history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistory to present. Covers abstracts 1964 to the present.

If the article you find is available in full-text, follow the appropriate links. If not, take note of the JOURNAL NAME being cited, and go to the Journals at F&M page to see if the library subscribes to the journal. If so, locate the journal in print or microfilm, and make a copy for your research.

For additional article resources, look under the Electronic Resources - A to Z List on the Library homepage.

Don't Forget: Always consult the bibliography at the end of a journal article for additional resources!

World Wide Web

The World Wide Web can be a helpful environment in which to access scholarly information. To search for more authoritative sites and information, use mediated search directories such as Google Scholar.

What are Archives?

Archives are the non-current records of an organization or institution preserved for their continuing historical value.

In a broader sense the term archives is often applied to any records, documents, or unpublished, one-of-a-kind written materials that are deemed to have informational, cultural, historical, or artifactual value and are deliberately preserved for future generations. Archival materials of a personal nature such as letters, diaries, or wills are often called manuscripts or papers rather than archives since they do not document the official business of an organization, but that of an individual or family.

The Archives and Special Collections Department at Franklin and Marshall College serves three major functions. First, it is the repository for the official archives or institutional records of the College as well as a broad collection of other materials relating to the history of Franklin and Marshall. Secondly, the department preserves the personal manuscripts and official papers of prominent area individuals, families and local organizations. Lastly, as a unit of the library, the department maintains special collections of rare materials such as autographs, books, maps, posters, newspapers, prints and photographs.

Why are archives important?

Archives are a valuable tool in historical research as they represent a tangible link to the past. They chronicle, first-hand, what actually occurred during a particular event or time period. This proximity results in a unique "participant's perspective" that is invaluable to historians in understanding and interpreting the past.

Archives are held by a wide variety of institutions including religious organizations, corporations, government agencies, medical institutions, historical societies, and universities.

What are the differences between Libraries and Archives?

In order to use libraries and archives effectively, it is important to understand the major differences between the two:

  • Libraries contain published items available elsewhere. Archives generally contain unpublished items that are unique to the collection.
  • Library books are housed in open stacks and may be borrowed by researchers. Archives materials are housed in closed, secure stacks and may not be borrowed by researchers.
  • Library books are cataloged and described on an item level. Archival materials are often organized and described in groups or folders.

General Guidelines for Reading Historic Documents

When first learning to read and transcribe historic documents, begin with 19th century documents, and work backward to the colonial period. This way, you will become familiar with early handwriting, spelling, abbreviations, and common salutations.

Other guidelines include:

  • Have a good quality magnifying glass at hand for difficult letters or symbols.
  • Have a subject specific dictionary at hand to identify historical terms or phrases.
  • Have a list of historical abbreviations at hand to identify common title, name, and date abbreviaitons.
  • Begin by reading the document through at a fast pace, then re-read at a slow pace, examining each word.
  • Compare unknown letters or words with similar words on the same page and/or in the same document.
  • Be aware of spelling variations, especially in pre-Civil War era documents. In colonial America, words were often spelled phonetically - often in local accents.

General Rules for Transcribing Historic Documents

When transcribing documents, include all original abbreviations, cancellations, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.

Technical rules include:

  • Use three ellipses points . . . to indicate the omission of words due to paper loss or stains.
  • Use a question mark in brackets [?] for words or parts of words that are illegible.
  • Use the expression sic in brackets [sic] to indicate that a misspelled word has been transcribed exactly as written.
  • Transcribe the long s as a regular s. Example: Mafs. is actually Mass.
  • Spell out uncommon abbreviations in brackets. Example: Indian affs. [Affairs]
  • Include appropriate footnotes with background or biographical information.
  • Include a citation for the original document at the bottom of your transcription.

Additional Help

Contact Christopher Raab for further assistance or fill out a research appointment request form to meet with a librarian.

Last updated: 8/12/11 cmr


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