Research in Special Collections and Archives

Special Collections & Archives is open by appointment only to Goucher College faculty, students, and staff due to COVID-19 restrictions.  We are available to help with all research questions so please reach out to our staff at or call (410) 337-6075. Assistance with using Special Collections and Archival materials is below.

Finding Materials

How to Locate Rare Books

Goucher College's rare books are located in the Library catalog.  If you have an exact title enter it (enclosed by quotations) into the Search box  on the library home page

title search


If you are searching in a subject area but know you specifically want rare materials you will want to use the Advanced Search function of the search box. You can limit the location to Special Collections by using b8:Special Collection in the first keyword search box AND you would add another search term.  advanced search


How to Locate Manuscript and Archival Collections

Not all of Goucher's manuscript collections are cataloged.  You can search in the library catalog with the name of the collection to see if it is cataloged.  Many of the collection finding aids can be located in the Digital Library.  The Special Collections page has a complete listing of Goucher's manuscript collections.

What is a Primary Source?

Primary sources are documents, images, or artifacts that provide first-hand accounts of a historical topic.  Secondary sources are anything that analyzes or interprets a historical event after the event has occurred.  For more information on Primary Sources visit our research guide.


How to Handle Materials


  • Wash your hands before handling archival materials.
  • Use only pencils for note-taking; do not mark on material or erase existing marks.
  • Do not write or rest books or other objects on the surface of materials.
  • Do not fold or tear documents or make tracings or rubbings.
  • Request only one collection and no more than two boxes at a time.
  • Have only one box open and one folder out for review at a time.
  • Maintain the existing order of material within folders and boxes. If there is a question about the existing order, please ask  staff.  


Citing Primary Sources

Typical elements of a primary source citation include: document title, collection title, and repository name. For example, Correspondence between Lilian Welsh and Miss Sussberger. Lilian Welsh Papers. Special Collections and Archives, Goucher College Library.

For primary sources published online, a citation would include: the author, document title or a description, document date, title of the website, reference URL, and date accessed. Elements of a citation are usually listed from the most specific to the most general.