Find sources in manuscript collections

Search Tools

Descriptions of early and modern manuscripts in the Special Collections Research Center can be found by conducting a keyword search in the Library catalog. Search by author, title, subject, or by the unique number assigned to the manuscript in the call number field (i.e., Ms100, Ms965). Try limiting your search results by Location (Special Collections Research Center) and by Format (Archives/Manuscripts).

Looking for codex manuscripts? Start with this tailored catalog search. Results can be refined by language, date, or other criteria listed under "Narrow Search" on your computer, or by clicking "Refine Results" on your mobile device.

Tip: Most manuscript collections have a basic catalog record, even if they don't yet have a detailed finding aid. Search the Library catalog and the finding aids database to learn about everything we might have on a topic.


A finding aid is a guide to an archival or manuscript collection. Finding aids include a narrative overview of the scope and contents of a collection, often followed by a listing of materials by box, folder, or item.

Tip: Our finding aids are the most detailed guides to manuscript collections from 1700 to the present.



Digital Resources

Digitized Early Manuscripts (pre-1700)

Digitized Modern Manuscripts (1700-present)

Finding aids for digitized manuscript collections.

Manuscripts described in these finding aids have been fully or partially digitized. Links to PDFs are in the Inventory section of each finding aid.

Web Exhibits

Featured manuscript web exhibits


Research Guides

Special Collections Research Center Digital Collections

A getting started guide to digital collections in the Special Collections Research Center.

Chicago Jazz

A guide to researching the history of jazz in Chicago.

Medieval Manuscript Research

A guide to locating and using manuscripts and the digital middle ages.

Resources Beyond the University of Chicago Library