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Starting Your Research

The George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives offers access to our collections in support of the research needs of the Bowdoin community and users globally.

Our materials are rare, fragile, unique, or of special collecting interest, and thus only may be used in our reading room under departmental supervision.

While no appointment is necessary to access collections, if you are new to archival research, traveling from afar, or need to access to materials stored offsite we recommend contacting us in advance of your visit.

The Special Collections & Archives Reading Room is located on the third floor of Hawthorne-Longfellow Library, 1 College Street, Brunswick, Maine.

The College maintains information on planning your visit to Brunswick, including hotels and parking information.

While no appointment is necessary to research in our collections, we especially encourage those who are new to Bowdoin or archival research in general to get in touch before visiting.

In advance of your visit, please be sure to read our Reading Room policies.

In most cases we do not retrieve material in advance: upon arrival you will be prompted to complete paging slips (at the box level for archival and manuscript collections) and our staff will retrieve material promptly. Please note that some of our collections are located in off-site storage and must be requested at least 3 business days in advance. Those collections are noted as such in our online collection guides and catalog records.

Special Collections & Archives staff is available for consultation on research subjects and collection holdings. While the majority of our holdings are well cataloged and discoverable online, there are still some items only represented in our paper card catalog. If you are having difficulty finding something, please ask us.

Resources related to frequently consulted research areas have been compiled into subject guides: