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Finding Aids to Personal Papers/Business and Organization Records: Items

Descriptions of Items Within Collections

For some collections, individual or highly-significant documents were either cataloged in the manuscripts card catalog in the Research Room at the Kansas State Historical Society’s Center for Historical Research, or items were listed individually as part of the finding aid to the collection.

For those items that were separately cataloged, there are author and one or more subject cards for each item. Title cards are usually not found unless an item or collection had a distinctive title. Since this catalog is not online, our reference staff will conduct limited searches of it upon request.

Information on the cards range from a minimum of information—usually author, type of document, dates, and collection name—to more descriptive, often containing names and locations of authors and recipients of letters, information about copies in other formats, biographical or historical information, brief contents notes, information about arrangement, provenance of the collection, source or donor and copyright information, finding aids and other sources of description, published versions, information about the condition of the document, and title transcriptions and variations.

When lists were created, they usually provide only the names of authors of letters and dates, thus providing an index to correspondence. For some collections, though, the lists provide a brief summary of each item. Items in the lists may be arranged by date, sometimes called an archival calendar, or by the author’s name.

Published descriptive pamphlets to microfilm produced by the Kansas State Historical Society in the 1960s with assistance from National Historical Publications and Records Commission grants usually contain indexes, arranged by authors’ names, to individual letters.

Finding Aids Introduction