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Detail from Susan Decatur letter

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Introduction to Archival Primary Sources for Social Sciences

If you are a graduate or undergraduate student conducting research in the social sciences, you will want to attend this Library information session on using archival primary sources at the Booth Family Center for Special Collections!

Archival primary sources offer the freedom to make original observations, because interaction is direct, immediate, and without any intervening interpretations. This could be the key to inspiring an original research project.

Archival primary sources invite researchers to go beyond facts to uncover the story behind archival items and to construct a meaningful and relevant thesis on historical events.

At this session, you will learn how to search the Special Collections database, how to access material, and who to contact for a consultation or arrange for a research visit. You will also have the opportunity to interact with a variety of historic documents. A few examples include:

  1. Washington Irving's letterbook while he was U.S. Minister to Spain from 1842 to 1844.
  2. War-time letter from President Abraham Lincoln to his general George B. McClellan about a soldier from South Carolina who wanted to serve with the Union, together with McClellan's reply on the same piece of paper.  Dated January 20, 1862.
  3. Diary of Rev. Edmund A. Walsh, S.J., from his time as an observer at the Nuremberg war crimes trials after World War II.
  4. Diary of U.S. Foreign Service official Edwin W. Martin from his time in China from 1947 to 1949, the year the Communist party took control.
  5. Letter from Richard Helms, the CIA Director at the height of the Cold War, to his family reflecting on the fact that he had outlived the Soviet Union. Dated Christmas Day, 1991.
September 24, 2019
3:00pm - 4:00pm
Booth Family Center for Special Collections, Lauinger Library (5th floor)
Contact Information: 

Bill Olsen, Research Librarian (Social Sciences), wco4@georgetown.edu
Jieun Kang, Research Librarian (History), jk2089@georgetown.edu
Lisette Matano, Manuscripts Archivist, matanol@georgetown.edu
Scott Taylor, Manuscripts Archivist, taylors@georgetown.edu

RSVP to: 
Georgetown University Library