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History--World: Manuscripts

Materials relating to general world history and historical topics that include many nations, including World War I and World War II.


Published Manuscripts

The Lee Library has thousands of published primary sources such as the Manuscripts of the House of Lords and the Diary of Christopher Columbus. To locate published primary sources on your subject:

  1. Go to the Library Catalog (Advanced Search).
  2. Click on the arrow next to the "Format" box to pull down a list of formats
  3. Scroll down and click on MANUSCRIPT
  4. Click and place the cursor in the blank space next to the appropriate search for your topic
  5. Put in your topic keywords 
  6. A list of items, all manuscripts, will appear.  Click on "View" to see the entire record
  7. You may also want to add search the Library Catalog with one the following keywords: manuscript/manuscripts, records/records, narrative/narratives, journal/journals, writings, speech/speeches, correspondence, documents, papers, diary/diaries, minute/minutes, works, interview/interviews, sources.

And So to Bed: A Bibliography of Diaries Published in English. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow, 1987. [Soc Sci Ref: CT 25 .X1 H38 1987].

British Diaries: an Annotated Bibliography of British Diaries Written Between 1442-1942. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1950. [Soc Sci Ref: CT 775 .X1 M3].

Canadian Diaries and Autobiographies. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1950. [Soc Sci Ref: F1008 .X1 M34].

Manuscript Guides


The History Highway 3.0: A Guide to Internet Resources. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2002. [Soc Sci Ref: D 16.255 .C65 H58 2002]. This is a useful collection of more than 1,000 Internet sites devoted to American and world history, grouped by familiar historical categories. Also available on CD-ROM with links at Social Science Education Reference Desk.

International Archival Resources on the Internet provides links to important archival sites.

International Directory of Archives. Munich: Saur, 1988. [Soc Sci Ref: CD 1 .A18 Vol. 33].

National Inventory of Documentary Sources. Finding aids, catalogs and indexes to manuscripts, archives and other primary source materials in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the United States. Microfiche copy of originals at BYU. [HBLL Microfiche CD 3023 .N37 pt. 3]

National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1959/61-. [Spec Collections Ref: Z 6620 U5 .N3].

National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections contains descriptions of approximately 72,300 collections located in 1406 different repositories with approximately 1,085,000 index references to topical subjects and personal, family, corporate, and geographic names.

Reference Guide to Africa: A Bibliography of Sources. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow, 1999. [Soc Sci Ref: DT 3 .X1 K342].

Reference Guide to the United States Department of State Special Files. Westport: Greenwood, 1985. [Soc Sci Ref: CD 3031].

Repositories of Primary Sources is a listing of over 5000 websites describing holdings of manuscripts, archives, rare books, historical photographs, and other primary sources for the research scholar.

UNESCO Archives Portal includes links to archives, associations, conferences and meetings, education and training, international co-operation, internet resources, preservation and conservation, and primary sources online.

By Continent, Country or Region


African Studies Companion: A Resource Guide and Directory. London: H. Zell, 1989. [Soc Sci Ref: DT 19.8 .Z45].

African Studies Information Resources Directory. Oxford: Saur, 1986. [Soc Sci Ref: DT 19.8 .I58].

Directory of African & Afro-American Studies in the United States. Waltham, Mass: African Studies Association, 1976-1987. 3 vols. [DT 19.9 .U5 D56].

Guide to Federal Archives Relating to Africa. Waltham, MA: Crossroads, 1977. [Soc Sci Ref: DT 3 .X1 S69].

Guide to Non-Federal Archives and Manuscripts in the United States Relating to Africa. London: H. Zell, 1988. [CD 3002 .S68].

International African Bibliography, 1980-. London: Mansell, 1971-. [Soc Sci Ref: DT 3 .X1 I58].

International Guide to African Studies Research. Munich: Saur, 1987. [DT 19.8 .I58x].


Asia and Oceania: A Guide to Archival & Manuscript Sources in the United States. London: Mansell, 1985. 5 vols. [Soc Sci Ref: DS 5 .X1 A74].


Union List of Manuscripts in Canadian Repositories. Ottawa: Public Archives, Canada, 1975. [Soc Sci Ref: CD 3622. U5].

Great Britain

National Archives of the UK is the official archive of the UK Government.  It is the principal information gateway for UK archivists and users of manuscript sources for British history. It is hosted and maintained by the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts.

British Archives: A Guide to Archive Resources in the United Kingdom. New York: Stockton Press, 1995. [Soc Sci Ref: CD 1040 .F67]

The British Library Manuscripts Catalogue. This On-line Catalogue is designed to offer a single means of access to the mainstream catalogues of the Department of Manuscripts covering accessions from 1753 to the present day.

Guide to the Contents of the Public Record Office. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1963-1968. 3 vols. [Soc Sci Ref: CD 1043 .A553].

Index of Manuscripts in the British Library. Cambridge: Chadwyck-Healey, 1984-1986. 10 vols. [Special Collections: Z 921 .L553 B74x].

National Register of Archives (NRA) was set up by the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts in 1945 to collect and disseminate information about manuscript sources for British history outside the public records. The NRA consists of more than 43,000 unpublished lists and catalogues of major manuscript collections, and approximately 150,000 further lists of miscellaneous and minor collections. They describe the holdings of local record offices, national and university libraries, specialist repositories, museums and other bodies in the United Kingdom and abroad. They also cover papers held privately by individuals, firms and institutions, and in such cases the Commission is often able to provide further information about the accessibility of the papers for research.

Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, generally known as the Historical Manuscripts Commission (HMC), was set up by Royal Warrant in 1869 to enquire and report on collections of papers of value for the study of British history in private and institutional hands. In 1959 a new warrant enlarged these terms of reference to include all British historical records, wherever situated, outside the Public Records and gave it added responsibilities as a central coordinating body to promote, assist and advise on their proper preservation and storage. The Commission has published 239 volumes of reports. It holds a further 42,500 unpublished reports in the National Register of Archives, which are available for consultation in the public search room. It also maintains the Manorial Documents Register on behalf of the Master of the Rolls.


Bibliotheque Nationale de France

Libraries and Archives in France: A Handbook. New York: Council of European Studies, 1979. [Stacks: Z 797 .A1 W44].

Eastern Europe and Russia

Archives and Manuscript Repositories in the USSR: Moscow and Leningrad. Princeton University Press, 1972. [CD 1735 .B34 G74]. Dated but still contains valuable information.

Archives and Manuscripts Repositories in the USSR: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Belorussia. Princeton University Press, 1981. [CD 1735 .B34 G74]. Dated but still contains valuable information.

Archives in Russia 1993: A Brief Directory. Washington, DC: International Research & Exchanges Board, 1993-. [Soc Sci Ref: CD 1711 .A75x 1993 pt. 1].

Eastern Europe and Russia/Soviet Union: A Handbook of Western European Archival and Library Resources. Detroit: Gale, 1980. [DJK9 .L48x]. Dated but still contains valuable information.

Post-Soviet Archives: Organization, Access, and Declassification. Santa Monica, CA: Rand, 1993. [CD 1712 .K37].


Catalogue of Files and Microfilms of the German Foreign Ministry Archives, 1920-1945. Standford: Standford University, 1962-. [Soc Sci Ref: CD 1261 .A65].

Catalogue of German Foreign Ministry Archives, 1867-1920. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Library, 1957. [Oversized CD 1261 .M5].

Libraries and Archives in Germany. Pittsburgh: Council of European Studies, 1975. [Bookshelves and Hum Ref: Z 674.5 .G3 W44x].

Latin America

Guide to Materials on Latin America in the National Archives of the United States. Washington, DC: National Archives, 1974. [CD 3028 .L37 U54].

Handbook of Latin American & Carribean National Archives. Detroit: Blaine Ethridge Books, 1983. [CD 3680 .N38].

Research in Mexican History: Topics, Methodology, Sources, and a Practical Guide to Field Research. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1985. [F 1225.5 .G73].

Research Guide to Central America and the Carribbean. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985. [F 2161 .R47x].

Research Guide to Andean History: Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru. Durham: Duke University Press, 1981. [F 3321 .X1 R74]

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Brian Wages
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