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History of Science Primary Sources

Guide to primary sources in the history of science, technology & medicine

Formats in the Collections

This page provides an overview of the types of materials (by physical format) held in the History of Science Collections. Examples of formats of primary sources in History of Science (and other 5th floor Special Collections).

  • Art
  • Broadsheets
  • Ephemera
  • Manuscript Materials: handwritten documents and letters, manuscript books
  • Maps
  • ‚ÄčMedia (computer files, film)
  • Photographs & Portraits
  • Scrapbooks
  • Printed Books & Pamphlets

Manuscript Materials

Manuscript materials are found in a variety forms within the History of Science Collections, including manuscript books, individual leaves, and letters. Manuscript materials were often used as binding materials within early printed books; there are many examples of these items within the Collections.

Bindings

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Books

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Maps

Most maps held within the 5th floor Special Collections are found within printed books. But there are some stand-alone folding-type maps like this Colton map (1850):

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Printed Books

Printed books comprise the bulk of materials within in the History of Science Collections, Since these items span the period from the beginning of printing in the 15th century to the present time, the Collections provide a rich foundation for study of the printed book over time. See the Genre page for examples of the variety of printed texts.

Photographs & Portraits

Portrait Collection

Two collections of portraits are held in the Collections, a large portrait collection and a small portrait collection.  Some of these materials have been digitized and are available for browsing here.

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Portraits within Printed Books

In addition, portraits can of course be found within many of the printed books within the Collections, often as frontispieces within individual texts, collected works or biographical accounts.

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