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Archives & Special Collections Research Guide: Mansfield Library Archives & Special Collections

A guide with information about resources available at the Mansfield Library's Archives & Special Collections department, and about archival and special collections materials located elsewhere.

What We Do

The Mansfield Library's Archives and Special Collections helps to document the history of Montana and the region by collecting, preserving and providing access to unique, rare and / or valuable books, pamphlets, ephemera, archival and manuscript collections, photographs, maps, oral histories and moving image material.

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Where We Are

Archives & Special Collections is located on the 4th floor of the Mansfield Library.

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Archives West

Archives West provides access to guides to archival collections and to descriptions of primary source collections held at repositories in the Western United States, including Montana, Idaho, Utah, Washington, Oregon and Alaska. Examples of primary source materials held in archival collections include letters, diaries, photographs, scrapbooks, business records, oral histories, official papers of senators and congressmen, and the records of organizations.

What We Have


There are more than 25,000 books located in Archives and Special Collections, including nearly 20,000 available for browsing in the Montana Room. Information about our books can be found using the library's OneSearch or by using the search box on the Archives and Special Collections homepage. Records for our books have also been included in WorldCat.

Although Archives and Special Collections primarily collects material about Western Montana and its people, the rare book collection in particular includes a range of unique and/or valuable non-Montana items.

Archival and Manuscript Collections

Archives and Special Collections holds over 1,000 manuscript collections (primarily unpublished materials created by individuals, organizations and businesses) focusing on people, events and activities in Montana. We also hold the records of several University of Montana departments and entities.

Information about the majority of our manuscript and archival collections can be found using the Archives West database. Records for most of our collections are also available in WorldCat.

Regional and Historic Maps

More than 7,000 regional and historic maps are housed in the Montana Room of Archives and Special Collections. Maps in this collection can be found using the library's OneSearch (note: In the 'Material Type' dropdown option select 'Maps').

Several hundred of our maps have been digitized and are available online via the Mapping Montana and the West collection in the Montana Memory Project.


Archives and Special Collections has nearly 100,000 historic images, in a variety of formats, dating from the 1860s to the present. The majority of the photographs document people, places and activities in western Montana, including the Missoula area and the University of Montana campus.

Photocopies of more than 20,000 images are located in cabinets just outside the Archives and Special Collections room and are available for browsing.

Over 6,800 of our photographs have been digitized for online access. You can start your search on this page or browse photographs in the Archival Photographs from the University of Montana collection in the Montana Memory Project.

Oral Histories

Over 2,500 oral history recordings are available from Archives and Special Collections. The majority of our oral histories can be found using the library's OneSearch or by using the search box on the Archives and Special Collections homepage. Tapes and transcripts for the majority of our oral histories are located in cabinets just outside the Archives and Special Collections area and are available for checkout from the library. Additional information about our Oral Histories is available on our Oral History Collections Research Guide.

Your Librarian

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Donna McCrea
Head of Archives & Special Collections / Professor

Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library

(406) 243-4403

Primary Source Publications and Microfilm at the Mansfield LIbrary

The Mansfield Library owns thousands and thousands of books, e-books, and microfilm rolls that contain transcriptions or copies of personal papers (such as letters, diaries, photographs), business records, and/or organizational records. Good keywords to use as you search the library catalog for primary source materials are: sources, papers (and papers of), documents (and documents of), manuscripts, and records.  

Some examples:

Documents of Soviet History (Books)
v. 1. The triumph of Bolshevism, 1917-1919; v. 2. Triumph and retreat, 1920-1922; v. 3. Lenin’s heirs, 1923-1925; v. 4. Stalin grasps power, 1926-1928; v. 5. Revolution from above, 1929-1931; v. 6. Restoration of order, 1932-1934; v. 7. Foundations of Stalinism, 1935-1937. Call number: 947.084 D6378.

The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower (Books)
v. 1-5. The war years; v. 6. Occupation, 1945; v. 7-9. The Chief of Staff; v. 10-11. Columbia University; v. 12 NATO and the campaign of 1952; v. 13. NATO and the campaign of 1952; v. 14-17. The presidency-- the middle way.
Call number: 973.921 E36Z3

Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs: Central Classified Files, 1907-1939 (Microfilm)
ser. A. Indian delegations to Washington (25 reels); ser. B. Indian customs and social relations (23 reels); ser. C, pt.1. Reports on Medical and Nursing Activities (29 reels); ser. D, pt.1. General Organization, Regulations, and Types of Schools (12 reels); ser. D, pt.2. Correspondence and Reports on Reservation Day and Boarding Schools (30 reels). The microfilm collection is located at call number 970.5 R311 on Level 1 of the Mansfield Library. A guide to the collection is located on top of the Microfilm shelves at call number 970.5 R311.

Western Americana, Frontier History of the Trans-Mississippi West, 1550-1900 (Microfilm)
Assembled in cooperation with the Beinecke Library at Yale University and the Newberry Library, this collection makes available on 600+ reels of microfilm the basic printed sources for the exploration, settlement and development of the Trans-Mississippi West. It spans the years from 1550 to 1900; that is, from the first explorations down to the end of the frontier. Geographically it covers the region from the Spanish borderlands on the south to the Arctic Ocean on the north; from the Mississippi Valley and Hudson’s Bay on the east to the Pacific Ocean and Bering Straits on the west. The microfilm collection is located at call number 978 W527 on Level 1 of the Mansfield Library. A guide to the collection is located on top of the Microfilm shelves at call number 978 X W527.

Women’s Studies Manuscript Collections from the Schlesinger Library, Series 2, Women in National Politics (Microfilm)
52 reels of microfilm of women's papers housed at the Schlesinger Library. The microfilm collection is located at call number 973.91 R211Z on Level 1 of the Mansfield Library. Guides for this collection, including biographical sketches, bibliographies, reel indexes, and subject indexes, are located on top of the microfilm cabinets on level 1 at call number 973.91 R211Z.

Journals published by state historical societies, such as Contributions to the Historical Society of Montana, often contain transcripts of primary source accounts of life and activities of that state.