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AFST 352 / HIST 352J & AFST 396 / HIST 396J: Introduction

For Ben Machava's AFST 352 & AFST 396

About MSSA (Manuscripts & Archives)

Manuscripts and Archives is a reference center and reading room that is organizationally part of the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, but located inside of Sterling Memorial Library (SML), on the Wall Street side, across from the Yale Law School. The entrance is opposite the SML Lecture Hall and Memorabilia Room.

What's inside? Manuscripts and Archives houses the records of Yale University, Yale publications, and personal and organizational records relating to American diplomacy, medicine and health policy, and LGBTQ life and culture, among many other subjects.

When is it open? Monday through Friday during regular business hours.

What do I need to do before I visit? If you haven’t created a special-collections account yet, you should begin by registering online here (follow the link in the “Register Online” box and use the “Login with NetID” option).

  • One account is good for all of Yale's special-collections reading rooms, not only Manuscripts and Archives but also the Beinecke, Divinity, etc.
  • Remember to bring your Yale ID with you when you come to the reading room!

How do I search archival collections? Archives at Yale offers finding aids for over 8,000 collections held in Yale’s special collections.

  • A finding aid is an essential tool for a researcher using archival collections. It provides overview information about the creator(s) and contents of a collection, and a container-by-container inventory of what you can expect to find in the collection.

How do I explore collections set aside for this course? Your first step for this assignment will be to pick from among the boxes on hold for your use (listed under the tab "Items on hold in MSSA for this assignment"), and then to explore their contents. The list includes links that will take you to the spot in the finding aid where the contents listed are described. 

  • All the boxes listed are on hold for AFST 344 / HIST 344 – Professor Machava in the Manuscripts and Archives reading room until Monday, 24 October.
  • You may use the resources on hold for your convenience, or you may explore Archives at Yale to identify and request materials matching your specific interests.
  • When you arrive, let the staff at the service counter know which collections/boxes you’d like to see.
  • You may examine one box at a time.

Can I bring my laptop & phone with me? You can bring a laptop, camera, and pencil with you into the reading room, but your other belongings will have to be secured in lockers in the Manuscripts and Archives reference center.

  • Do not bring any paper of your own; please request paper for notetaking from MSSA staff (we also have plenty of nice, sharp pencils!)
  • Do take photographs of any documents that pique your interest for this assignment (but please don't use flash!), so you can consult them even when the reading room isn't open.

How can I get further help? If you have questions or need assistance in getting started with this assignment, you can drop by the reference center any time it's open – there is always a staff member on duty to assist you.

  • You can also use the links in my contact box on the right to send me a quick e-mail, or to schedule an appointment for a consultation either in-person or via Zoom.

Remember: Collection materials on hold for this assignment will be reshelved on Monday, 24 October. If you need something held for your consultation in the reading room after that date, please be sure to make arrangements with a staff member at the service desk.

Librarian for African Studies

Profile Photo
Omobolaji Olarinmoye Ph.D.
Office: 311-B,
Department of Area Studies and
Humanities Research Support,
Sterling Memorial Library,
120 High Street, New Haven, CT 06511
Subjects: African Studies

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