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HIST495 Introduction to Historical Interpretation (History Honors)

Guide for history honors students.

Rose Library

To begin searching for materials housed in the Rose Library, visit their website. Here, you will find information about our various holdings in manuscript collections, archives, and rare books. You may also want to begin to familiarize yourself with their holdings by visiting their Introduction to Collections page.

The Rose Library also maintains a number of guides to specific areas of their collections. Depending on your area of research, consider exploring our guides on African American History and Culture. These guides can help you to become familiar with the language used to describe archival materials and start to think of search terms for your own research.

Understanding Finding Aids

The material in archival collections is housed in boxes and folders, and described in documents called Finding Aids. A finding aid will provide you with basic information about a collection's contents, a brief biography of the individual who created the collection, and any information about restrictions on use of the materials. Often, collections are broken down into series; for these collections, the finding aid will also contain a brief description of each series.

Last but not least, a finding aid contains a detailed list of the materials found in a collection. Here is a sample from the finding aid for the Confederate Miscellany collection (MSS20):

As you can see, this finding aid provides you with the names and dates of the letters contained in the collection. Not all finding aids will have this level of detail. A folder might be labeled "Correspondence, 1910-1920," or "Printed Material, Newspaper Clippings." Consider looking through these folders as well, even if you don't immediately know from the folder title that the material is relevant to your research. You never know what you might find!

You can search the Rose Library's finding aids at their website: To search the collections, enter your search term in the search field.

HINT: Do not place quotes around your search term if using a phrase; our database is currently not capable of processing the quotation marks, and this will keep you from obtaining any search results.

When you find a collection you are interested in using, write down the collection name, its manuscript number (MSS number), and the boxes you would like to see. You can email all of this information to prior to your research visit!

Conducting Research in Rose Library

Archives and special collections libraries often have special requirements for using their resources. Here, you'll find basic background information on conducting research in Emory's Rose Library.

The Rose Library is located on the 10th floor of the Woodruff Library. During the academic year, our hours are 9:00-5:00 Monday through Friday. We are open on Saturday by appointment, only. We are closed on Sunday. You can contact the Rose Library at (404) 727-6887 or

The materials in the Rose Library are rare, often fragile, and often very valuable. Therefore, when you come to the tenth floor to do research, you are asked to show proof of your identity, keep a record of what you use, and you will have strict guidelines for how you use the materials during your visit. It may seem like there are a lot of rules associated with using the Rose Library's materials.

Preparing for your visit

Depending on your course, the items you will work with may be pre-selected for you. If they are, you will come to the Rose Library and request the materials on hold under your instructor’s name. You will also need to:

1. Sign in at the Researcher Daily Sign-in notebook.

 2. Fill out a Researcher Application (first visit only)

3. Show a photo ID (first visit only)

It is also always useful to the staff to know when you are coming, and so if possible we recommend that you email ahead of time with your name, course, instructor’s name, and when you plan to visit.

What to bring

We suggest that you bring the following items with you to the Rose Library:

1. Pencil and notebook

2. Computer

3. Digital camera

Please do not bring pens, gum, food, or drinks of any kind, unless they are sealed and can be left in your locker. You may also want to bring money for photocopies. For Emory students, the first 20 pages of photocopies are free, and subsequent pages cost $.25 per page. We accept cash or checks; we do not accept credit or Emory cards.

Using the Materials

The Rose Library's materials must be used in their reading room; Rose materials cannot be checked out. Before you enter the reading room, you will be asked to put all other belongings in a locker. Make sure to keep track of what you are using for your citations and/or bibliography.

Citing the Materials

Rare books that are part of the Rose Library's collection are cited using the same format you will use for general stacks books.

Manuscript Collections have their own form of citation. Different archives or special collections libraries may have slight variations in the way they ask that you cite their materials. For the Rose Library's collections, look at the first page of the finding aid, where the archvists have provided the preferred citation format for each collection. Generally, the citation will look at follows:

[identification of item(s)], [name of collection], Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Other Atlanta Area Archival Repositories