Cover image for Research and the manuscript tradition
Research and the manuscript tradition
Burke, Frank G., 1927-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lanham, Md. : Scarecrow Press ; Chicago : Society of American Archivists, 1997.
Physical Description:
x, 310 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
CD3021 .B87 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



Researchers faced with using documentary sources for the first time, such as correspondence, diaries, and literary manuscripts, are plunged into a world far different from the familiar library setting, with its card or computer catalogs, bibliographies, and other resource-finding tools. Over and over, studies of research methodology among scholars reveal that they learn by some sort of collegial osmosis and general fumbling about until they figure things out. There is an easier way. Burke explains the professional techniques employed by archivists and manuscript curators, describing what they do and why, so the beginning researcher has a foundation for understanding how to search and access personal papers. Burke surveys problems of organization, access, alternative sources, and legal issues with amusing anecdotes and examples. Research and the Manuscript Tradition is a reflection on using manuscripts for research, administering manuscript and archival collections and institutions, and the lessons learned from teaching a manuscripts administration course for more than twenty years. It provides a solid theoretical base as well as practical advice and a glimpse of the satisfaction that can come from working with personal papers. Contents: Yuan Shih-Kai, Harriet Monroe, and the Manuscript Tradition; The Recovery of Reality; Opening the Doors to Scholarship; Gathering the Evidence; Mapping the Roads to the Past; Tradition Confronts Technology; Organizing a Life; Good Deeds Do Not Go Unrewarded; The Cultural Crypt; Not by Vaults and Locks...; Law, Curatorial Ethics, and the Researcher; Personal Communication in the Electronic Age.

Author Notes

Frank G. Burke is Professor Emeritus, College of Library and Information Services, University of Maryland at College Park. Over the past thirty-five years he has held positions of responsibility at the University of Chicago Special Collections, the Library of Congress Manuscript Division, and the National Archives.