Manuscripts, Prints and Photographs, Oral History, and Music

With holdings totaling more than 18,000 linear feet, the Manuscript Division provides extensive documentation of African American life and history. Currently more than 250 collections are available for research. These collections include the correspondence, photographs, diaries, scrapbooks, writings and memorabilia of such notables as Alain Locke, E. Franklin Frazier, Frederick Douglass, Mary Church Terrell, Anna J. Cooper, Angelina Grimke, Lois Mailou Jones, Dr. Benjamin Mays and Amiri Baraka.

******PLEASE BE AWARE******

  • Access to all Audio/Visual materials (with the exception of photographs) is suspended due to an impending digitization project
  • All researchers are required to utilize published finding aids to identify specific records identifying the collection name, as well as box and file folder numbers. (e.g. Daniel Hale Williams, MSS #116, Box 5, File Folder 50)  
  • Please submit up to 8 boxes per day.  
  • Research sessions will be divided into two three-hour sessions: morning (9am-12pm) and an afternoon (1pm-4pm). Booking any hour within a session timeframe will allow access to your requested collection for the entire session. Please ensure to have a copy of your appointment confirmation email upon arrival.


Can I study in the Reading Room as a student without an appointment?  

Yes. The Reading Room will be open as a study space. An appointment is required to view research materials from our collection

Am I required to make an appointment for in person research?

Yes. This will ensure staff can properly prepare for your arrival so you can get the best out of your research experience.  

Do I need to bring anything with me to my research appointment?  

Yes. Please be prepared to show your confirmation email to our Reading Room check-in attendant upon arrival, and ensure you have a student or government ID to show security at the Founders Library main entrance.    

What are your hours for in person research in the MSRC Reading Room? 

The Reading Room will be open for two daily sessions, Monday-Friday, for researchers to access our collection. A morning session (9am-12pm) and an afternoon session (1pm-4pm).   Any time block that falls within a session timeframe permits the patron access to the room during the entire session. For example, if you book for 10 am, you can arrive as early as 9am to conduct your research. 

Where is the Reading Room?  

The Reading Room is located in Founders Library on Howard University's main campus, 500 Howard Place NW,20059. When you enter Founders Library, the Reading Room is at the end of the hallway on the right. 

How can I schedule an in-person appointment? 

You can schedule an appointment by selecting “Schedule Research Appointment” above to get started. 

What information do I need to provide when scheduling an in-person appointment? 

You will need to provide your name, contact information, and any relevant details requested by the scheduling system. 

Can I cancel or reschedule my in-person appointment? 

Yes, you can cancel your appointment by using the cancellation link in your confirmation email and reschedule by cancelling and choosing another time available on the division calendars. Please cancel the appointment as soon as you know you cannot make it to make room for other patrons. 

Are there any fees associated with scheduling appointments? 

Scheduling a research appointment in our Reading Room is free. However, requesting copies of our collections will incur a charge. Please visit the division page you are requesting materials from for details. 

How far in advance can I schedule an in-person appointment?

You will need to schedule appointments two weeks in advance. Check the scheduling system or contact our office at 202-865-8678 for more information.  

Do you offer virtual appointments? 

No, the Manuscript Division does not provide virtual appointments. You must schedule an in-person appointment or secure a research assistant. Please see our Research Services Fee Schedule on the About page for details (pdf. now in shared folder).

What do I do if I encounter technical issues while scheduling online? 

If you experience technical difficulties, please reach out to our support desk at 202-865-8678. Provide details about the issue so that we can help you troubleshoot. 

Can I schedule appointments for multiple people in one session?

Appointment timeslots are reservations for individual patrons only. If there are other members in your party, each person will need to request a timeslot within the same session. 

Manuscript Online Collection Highlights

Browse Our Manuscript Collection

Search Finding Aids

Discover More of Our Manuscripts Collection Online

Digital Howard