The large amount of information found in Special Collections can seem daunting to the new researcher. Staff of Special Collections will be available for help, but researchers might find some of the suggested links below to be helpful starting points in a search.
What is a finding aid?
Users can understand the contents of an archival collection through a finding aid, which is a guide that holds information about what is in a collection and how it is arranged. You can search our archives for a particular term, which will show you the collections that contain that term. From there, you can select and navigate through each collection.
A good starting point for research is the Encyclopedia of Union College History by Wayne Somers, which has many helpful articles that can provide users with valuable information and search terms.
We have a selection of vertical files to choose from as well. Vertical files are folders of materials related to many prominent people, places, and events from Union College’s history.
There is a lot of Union history to choose a research topic from, which could make this process overwhelming. That's why we have put together a LibGuide for Archives and Special Collections. In the LibGuide, the following topics are included but limited to:
- Student Protests in the Nineteenth Century
- John Bigelow Jr. and Geronimo
- Schenectady and the Erie Canal
- Dr. Nott's Temperance Lectures
- The Life of a Soldier During the Civil War
- WRUC (Union College Radio Station)
- William Henry Seward
- Hockey Crisis of 1977
- Promoting Women's Equality at Union
- Jackson's Gardens
- Martha Bradstreet 1774-1868
- Fitz Hugh Ludlow
Union College’s student newspaper, the Concordiensis, is searchable up to the year 2000.
A culmination of honor students independent research under the guidance of faculty members and are representative of Union College's commitment to giving students the tools necessary for life-long learning.
Rare Book Collections
The book collections housed in the Special Collections and Archives department reflect a wide range of subject matter, published dates, and formats. The Rare Book Collection, for example, contains illuminated manuscripts from the 13th c. as well as artists’ books from the 21st. A collection of rare books on astronomy and astrophysics on loan from the Dudley Observatory is also kept in this area. The primary purpose of these collections is to enhance and expand the College curriculum. Department staff are eager to work with classroom faculty to identify materials that would be useful for their classes. Faculty may bring classes to Special Collections to show students the volumes relevant to their course work.