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Please note: Due to COVID-19 response measures at the University of Illinois Library, the IHLC is closed to the public until further notice. Please email ihlc@library.illinois.edu if you require assistance, but note that staff access to our physical holdings continues to be limited during this time. We are currently able to fulfill limited digitization requests but are not able to provide in-person access to materials to external researchers. In-person appointments are available on a limited basis for University of Illinois faculty, staff, and students starting October 1, to be hosted in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library space. Please email us at ihlc@library.illinois.edu for more information.

Illinois History and Lincoln Collections

Search Manuscript Collection Descriptions

Search our collection descriptions for keywords, such as names, places, formats, or topics here.
To search by collection number, please use the identifier search box at the bottom of the page.



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About the database

This database contains descriptions of manuscript materials held by the Illinois History and Lincoln Collections (IHLC) at the University of Illinois Library. The database includes descriptions for a substantial portion of the collections, but is not yet comprehensive.

Manuscript collections range from single letters and diaries to organizational records occupying fifty or more document cartons. Please see the Overview of Collections on the IHLC website for more detail on the types of the collections and the various topics they cover.

The database provides searchable summary information about these collections including descriptions of the scope and content of materials (noting the names of key people, organizations, and places, as well as topics and types of documents), as well as dates and acquisition information.

In addition, detailed lists of collection contents (box and folder lists) have been prepared for several hundred collections and are uploaded as PDF files. These inventories are NOT included in the general database search. These must be searched separately using the Google custom search function set up above.

Please contact us if you have any questions or if you would like to inquire about unprocessed collections without descriptions in this database.

Search tips

Database searching

  • Note that the database will only return results that include all of your search terms
  • Use double quotes to search for a phrase (for example, "Religious Society of Friends")
  • A maximum of 100 results will be returned in any given search. To limit your search by excluding a term, put a minus sign before the particular word (for example, diary -microfilm will exclude collections that contain microfilm)

Searching PDFs with Google

  • Remember that not every collection will have a detailed inventory; the database search must be used to locate these collections of manuscript materials
  • After locating an item of interest, download the PDF inventory and use the "find" option (typically ctrl-F) to locate your search terms within the document
  • Note that some PDFs are scanned copies of paper files and while these are also searchable, there may be some errors in the computer-generated text searched for these inventories

Searching for archival materials in additional units of the University of Illinois Library

  • This database contains only items found in the IHLC. To search additional archival repositories at the University of Illinois Library, please use the multiple repository search page.

Look Up Collection by Identifier

If you know the collection identifier number, you may look up the corresponding collection record in the database here.



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