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Conducting Research - the Berg Collection

Finding Materials

The Dictionary Catalog of the Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature (Boston: G. K. Hall and Co., 1969-1983; 7 vols.), contains all of the cataloged holdings, both printed and manuscript, acquired by the Berg Collection through the end of 1982. Copies of the Dictionary Catalog are found in most major university libraries and research institutions. Manuscripts cataloged through 2002 are described in the Collection's card catalog, as are printed materials cataloged through 1994. About 6,000 of the printed books acquired since 1982 have been cataloged in  the Library's online catalog. The balance of the printed-book backlog will be cataloged by the end of 2006. Several finding aids for manuscript and archival author collections are accessible from this webpage and many more are planned.

Manuscripts: Finding Aids

Finding aids are detailed guides to archival and manuscript collections. Each finding aid is introduced by a brief biography of the author and a summary of the extent (both chronological and numerical) of the material in the collection, the genres of material encompassed, and the finding aid's principles of organization. This introductory section is followed by a box-contents list, which is arranged in series (e.g., "Novels," "Short-Stories," "Correspondence," "Financial Records"). Box numbers appear on the left-hand side of the finding aid, and introduce each box's content description. Though most of the Library's finding aids are maintained in SGML format, all are presented in HTML to be compatible with your web browser.

Manuscripts: Collection-Level Records

More than 200 collection-level records for the Berg's cataloged manuscript holdings of authors and a handful of corporate entities (e.g., publishers and theater companies) are accessible on the Library's Online Catalog These records were created during the period July 2003-March 2004 with funding generously provided by the GLADYS KRIEBLE DELMAS FOUNDATION. Collection-level records are relatively brief collection summaries that include a collection's numerical and chronological extent, genres of material (e.g., novels, poems, journals, correspondence, contracts), provenance information, the titles of notable works, dates of journals and diaries, and the names of notable individuals to whom the author refers or whose correspondence is contained in the collection. If a finding aid for the author or corporate entity has been created, a collection-level record will be linked to it. If a finding aid for the author or corporate entity whose holdings are profiled in the collection-level record has not yet been created, access to descriptions of all of the cataloged manuscript material, which will eventually comprise the content of such a finding aid may be obtained by contacting the Curator ( or staff (, who will send you a list of these descriptions via e-mail attachment or printout.

Collection-level records for authors and corporate entities can be found by

Browsing the Archival Collections in the Berg Division

Alternatively, you may search in the Online Catalog

under the "Title" option and enter the first and last name of the author, followed by the words "collection of papers" (e.g., "Virginia Woolf collection of papers") or "papers" (e.g. "Vladimir Nabokov papers"). The former phrase is used for holdings that have been acquired from various sources; the latter for an author's personal archive. Another route that will lead you to an author's collection-level record is the "Author" option. After you have entered the name of the author (Last name, First name) or corporate entity, choose the "Limit this Search" option, then "Format," and finally, from the drop-down menu, "Archival and Manuscript Material." For collection-level records of corporate entities, enter, under "Author," the name