Guide to the Research Collections
The history of the Americas forms one of the strongest collections in the library. It covers the United States extensively, with national, state, and local histories, as well as the history of Canada and the countries of Central and South America. The entire holdings number far in excess of 300,000 volumes and 14,000 broadsides. The basic collections, classed under the library's Billings classifications H and I and located in the American History and the Local History and Genealogy Divisions, are works for the most part printed after 1800 covering the political, constitutional, military, religious, and other phases of
-------------------------------------------- page 249
the social history of the Americas. More than 74,400 volumes represent America excluding the United States (Billings class mark H); 129,600 volumes deal with the United States (Billings class mark I). Important holdings of Americana in the Rare Book Division are of materials printed prior to 1800; some 40,000 volumes and 10,000 broadsides relate to America excluding the United States, and 20,000 volumes and 4,000 broadsides deal with the United States, both before and after the Revolutionary War. Additional resources on the economic history of the Americas and a large collection of public documents are found in the Economic and Public Affairs Division.
Under the Farmington Plan, the library has been assigned the responsibility for collecting from the following areas: general history of Latin America; history of the West Indies in general and of all individual countries or colonies: Argentina, Guyana, Surinam or Dutch Guiana, the Falkland Islands, French Guiana, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
The books of interest to students of American history form two groups: those which because of value or rarity are segregated in the Rare Book Division (Billings class mark *K); and those in the American History and Local History and Genealogy Divisions (Billings class marks H and I). There follows a brief description of these book materials with a notation of related manuscripts, prints, public documents, and other resources.