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How Do I Find...?

Begin your search for books, periodicals, photographs, archival and manuscript materials, architectural records, maps, moving images and funeral home records here.

Books and Periodicals

 

Photographs

  • Digital Collections
    Special Collections has over 600,000 photographs in its collections. Photographs can be found in photograph collections or within collections of organizational records, personal papers, or university records. If you want to see a photograph online, you can search or browse these collections. Please note, however, that less than 10% of our photograph holdings are represented online.
  • Collection Guides Search (Finding Aids)
    Select photograph collections are also described in these online guides. Finding aids provide detailed descriptions of a collection, including background information about a collection and its context, identification of and description about the content of photographs or groups of photographs, and restriction information.
  • J. Willis Sayre Photograph Digital Collection
    The J. Willis Sayre collection consists of more than 24,000 photographs of theatrical and vaudeville performers, as well as musicians and motion picture scenes, that played in Seattle between about 1900 and 1955 (some of the materials date back to the 1870s). The collector was J. Willis Sayre: drama critic, journalist, promoter. The database includes the data for all images in the database, but only includes links to digital images that are not under copyright restrictions.
  • Washington State Jewish Archives Photograph Collection Database
    This database searches Washington State Jewish Archives (WSJA) photograph collections held by Special Collections and provides textual descriptions of individual images. WSJA has over 350 photograph collections containing over 4000 photographs dating from the mid 1800s to present day, that relate to Jewish life and history in the Pacific Northwest, as well as nationally and internationally.

 

Archival and Manuscript Materials

  • Collection Guides Search (Finding Aids)

    Archival collections are described in greater depth in finding aids. Finding aids often have two components, the inventory and the guide. The inventory is a list that reflects the organization of the papers and provides inclusive dates. The inventory helps researchers to identify boxes or folders of interest that may be retrieved from the stacks for study. Inventories are often prefaced with narrative guides that establish biographical or historical context. Guides provide a detailed discussion of the content and arrangement of papers as well as information about the collection's creators and related materials.

    Finding aids (including several comprehensive indexes) for all of the materials may be consulted in Special Collections Reference Area. Please ask reference staff for assistance in identifying relevant finding aids. A small but growing number of our Collection Guides (Finding Aids) are also searchable online.

  • Other Resources
    Special Collections also has other in-house tools to help you identify relevant archival material. Reference staff can either direct you to print sources describing our collections or conduct searches in staff databases. If you are not finding what you need, please ask for research assistance.

 

Architectural Records

    • Historic Architecture of the Pacific Northwest
      This guide provides search tips, bibliographies, and links to print and archival materials relating to historic architecture in the Pacific Northwest. These resources may be used to research the work of regional architects, find photographs of historical buildings, and discover architectural drawings of both private residences and commercial structures.
      • Architectural Drawings Database
        Information about a large portion of the architectural drawings found in Special Collections.
        • Collection Guides Search (Finding Aids)
          Select photograph collections are also described in these online guides. Finding aids provide detailed descriptions of a collection, including background information about a collection and its context, identification of and description about the content of photographs or groups of photographs, and restriction information.

        If you cannot find what you need, the best way to find out about architectural drawing collections [or moving image collections] relevant to your research is to contact reference staff.

         

        Maps

        Special Collections' map holdings are in the process of being cataloged; however, many maps can be found in the UW Libraries Catalog. Once you identify an appropriate call number, staff will also bring you related uncataloged maps to peruse as well.

        The Special Collections Reference area also has maps and atlases available to browse, including:

         

        Moving Images

        • Moving Images Digital Collection
          Special Collections has over 200 moving image collections, consisting of thousands of films and videotapes from 1915 to the present. Short 3-5 minute selections from these moving image collections can be viewed as part of the UW Libraries Digital Collections.
        • Collection Guides Search (Finding Aids)
          Select moving image collections are also described in these online guides. Finding aids provide detailed descriptions of a collection, including background information about a collection and its context, identification of and description about the content of photographs or groups of photographs, and restriction information.
        • Other Resources
          Some films and videotapes from the moving image collections are available for viewing in Special Collections without an appointment. Consult the list of available viewing copies. There are thousands of original moving image materials that have not been transferred or reformatted. It may be possible to learn about these materials and view them (depending on condition) by appointment. Contact the Film Archives Specialist (filmarc@uw.edu) for additional information about the full scope of the moving image collections.

         

        Funeral Home Records

        Special Collections has acquired a limited range of local funeral home records. Additional details about our holdings can be found on our Seattle Funeral Home Records page.