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History: Utilizing Historical Societies

This is a basic guide on general history research.

About Historical Societies

For those scholars who are serious in their pursuit of primary source data, a historical society is one of the best resources the scholar can access.  Historical societies typically house a wide range of primary source material related to a particular state or region.  Some are found attached to libraries, while others have their own buildings.  The scholar can generally find out basic material about the historical society from their websites, but here is a brief list of items you should have with you when you visit. 

  • school idenification/state I.D.
  • pens and pencils
  • paper/computer
  • digital camera (you can study the text via your computer later)
  • money for copies
  • gloves/tissue (sometime supplied at society)

Students should also check out the societies website prior to the visit to check on specific policies, what time the society is open to the public, whether cameras are allowed, and eating/drinking rules before proceeding.  If you are really diligent you can check to see what resources might be in closed or open stacks. 

Digital Collections