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Library Resources for Summer Students: Using Archival/Manuscript Collections

A guide to Yale University Library resources for students taking summer classes.

Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Special Collections Units

Students have access to a variety of special collection units at Yale, including:

  • Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library
  • Manuscripts and Archives
  • Lewis Walpole Library

To request to view items, you must first register for an Aeon account. Reservations to view items, especially those that are housed on campus, must be made in advance. For more information about finding, visiting and using special collections, visit the Guide to Special Collections.

Searching Special Collections: Finding Aids

Finding Aids are inventories created by library staff of archival and manuscript collections (photographs, diaries, letters, and other unpublished materials) the library has, including the holdings of Manuscripts & Archives, Beinecke, the Yale Center for British Art and many more. Access the Finding Aid Database here.

Step #1: Search the finding aid database by subject.

Step # 2: Find the relevant collection and open it by clicking on the collection title.

Step #3: After you find and open the relevant collection, scroll down to the Overview subsection "View/Search" and click the "full HTML" link. This expands the finding aid and offers descriptions of particular items in the collection sorted by box. 

Step #4: If you find a relevant item and would like to view it, click the "Request Box #" link left of the descriptions. It will open a new page.

Step #5:  Fill out the request form, where you can describe the box you want and schedule the date you would like to come in to the reading room to view the item (most items in the Beinecke, etc. are non-circulating). When you have submitted the form, you will be given a transaction number. You can order up to ten items at a time.

Below is an example request: