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Special Collections - American History Sources: Home


Special Collections and College Archives maintains holdings related to significant players and events in the history of the United States. This includes, but is not limited to: The Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Industrial Revolution, and Political Leaders. Our holdings are comprised of a variety of materials a researcher might want to investigate, including books, manuscript collections, oral histories, photographs, and artifacts. This guide will provide you with a sampling of primary sources housed by Special Collections on this topic, as well as resources to advance your research.


Poster from 1943 describing how to use motion pictures for social values.

Using Motion Pictures for Social Values (1943)

American History in Special Collections: Suggested Materials

Special Collections maintains holdings related to significant players and events in the history of the United States.

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Revolutionary War
  • Civil War
  • World Wars
  • Industrial Revolution
  • Political Leaders

Materials that may be of use for a researcher in American History include:

A copy of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, located in the Reading Room.

Select Manuscript and Vertical File Manuscript Collections:

Anderson, Dillon. Formal expression of sympathy from the Director's Board of Monsanto Company to the family of Dillon Anderson upon his death. VFM-320 (oversized). See also - MS-088, Dillon Anderson papers.

Arms, Robert B. Collection contains many post-Civil War documents, including pension claims and correspondence between Arms and William A. Scott concerning the sale of property in North Dakota. MS-050

Baseball Card. "Plank, p. Phila. Amer." Unknown date. On indefinite loan to Musselman Library Special Collections. VFM-260

Bates, Katharine Lee. A brief letter to Mrs. Ethel Bickford of Roxbury, MA. 2 Jan. 1906. ALS-2pp. VFM-14

Beidleman, George Washington. See the correspondence (folders one and two of the collection) on the "Kansas Question," "religious atmosphere," "1860 election politics," and "Harper's Ferry incident." MS-043

Bradley, Robert B. Five books written about his experiences in World War II as a medic and German prisoner. Published 1970-2000. MS-303pp. VFM-177

Buchanan, James E. Letter from Buchanan politely declining an invitation to speak at the Phrenakosmian society of PA College. 31 June 1842. ALS-1p. VFM-24

Burton, H. Ralph. Collection includes reports, correspondence, notes, and newspaper clippings from Burton's investigative work with the U.S. Senate Campaign Expeditures Committee, 1938-1939 and 1940-1941; House Appropriations Committee of New York City and State, investigation of the W.P.A., 1939-1940; General Counsel, House Military Affairs Committee, 1941-1947; and with Communism, Pornography, and Birth Control investigations. MS-033

Centennial Stamps, Battle of Gettysburg. One sheet of 50, 5 cent stamps commemorating the Centennial of the Battle of Gettysburg, 1963. VFM-307

Clutz, Mrs. Jacob A. Photocopy of "Some Personal Recollections of the Battle of Gettysburg," a privately published memoir. MS-13pp. VFM-179

Copybook. Bound notebook full of random pictures and facts. " Washington's Writings Volume XI" MS-11pp. VFM-35

Custer, George Armstrong. See D. Mark Katz's manuscript entitled Custer in Photographs. See also box for various photographs of Custer, both during and after the Civil War. Unprocessed collection.

Dawes, Charles G. Letter to Mayor H.D. Parkin from Vice President of the US, Charles Dawes, regarding a picture of General Pershing. 13 Feb 1926. TLS-1p. VFM-38

Democratic Party Platform Pamphlets. 1936. Explains all aspects, including economic, domestic and foreign policies, of the Democratic platform for 1936. 11 copies of the pamphlet. MS-77pp. VM-281

Dillon Anderson papers.  Collection of correspondence, speeches and documents, interviews, and newspaper articles for research on the Eisenhower Administration, National Security Policy under his administration, and the National Security Council. MS-088

Eastman, Max. Letter from Eastman to Eleanor, begging a response from her. 7 July 1937. TLS-1p. VFM-43

The Economist. Vol. 1 No. 1. Nov. 1890 edition. Published in Cincinnati Ohio. A monthly journal of Political and Social Science. Contains original copy and photocopy. TMs-32pp. VFM-298

Eisenhower Appointment Books. Appointment records of 1311 pages documenting Eisenhower's meetings and telephone conversations with numerous individuals from April 1961 to October 1967 during which he occupied an office on the campus of Gettysburg College.  MS-109

Eisenhower, Dwight D. Sheet music entitled "A March to Eisenhower," by H.D. Hirsh and J.M. Frank. MS-3pp. VFM-205

Everett, Edward. Letter from Everett to J.G. Stetson. 15 Dec 1852. ALS-1p. VFM-45

Gallion, Robert. Class of 1946. February 5, 1943 draft note of 27 Gettysburg College students ordered into service during World War II. Original notification and envelope from War Department. Includes copy of an article about the document written by Library Director Robin Wagner for the Musselman Library Newsletter and correspondence from Dr. Michael Birkner and College Archivist Karen Dupell Drickamer. MS-6pp. VFM 271

Gallion, Robert. Class of 1946. Collection of Nazi Pins and Photographs of head Nazi officers. P-8. VFM-289

Hammarskjold, Dag. Telegram from Hammarskjold to Pres. Langsam in response to Langsam's message of congratulations regarding the 10th Anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter. Also includes a program from Hammarskjold's memorial service at Gettysburg College. 29 Sept. 1961. D-3pp. VFM-66

Hobor, Albert J. Collection of photographs from service during World War II including five photographs from a Nazi Concentration camp at the time of liberation. A photograph of Private Albert J. Hobor taken on April 12, 1944. Photo-Copy of Army Separation/Qualification Record and Honorable Discharge Record. Photo-Copy of restricted list from a U.S. Station Hospital from March 13, 1945. Photo-Copy of restricted notification of the Award of Purple Heart to Private Albert J. Hober on December 7, 1944. Photo-Copy of Newspaper clipping from February 28, 1945 titled "Wounded Soldier in Army Hospital." Correspondence between Michael J. Hobor and Nancy Dewing, daughter of Albert J. Hobor dated November and December 2005. Copies of "Notes and Thoughts on the Massacre Photographs and Albert J. Hobor's Experience in World War II." Written by Michael J. Hobor on December 7, 2005, as well as notes on the collection by Michael J. Hobor. Photograph of Woolworth Strike. MS-24pp. VFM-284

Hoover, Herbert. Letters from Hoover dated 12 Dec 1931 and 14 April 1953. One to Pres. Hanson thanking him for the honorary degree from the college. TLS-2pp. VFM-74

Hopkinson, Joseph. Letter from Hopkinson dated 14 Oct. 1838. ALS-1p. VFM-73

Indian Dictionary. Small, bound notebook containing Indian phrases and their English translation. Ms-15pp. VFM-78

Infantry Drill Regulations. 1911 "Questions on Infantry Drill Regulations" used by Harold Snyder when he attended the Student Army Training Corps at Gettysburg College in the fall of 1918. The program began in August of 1918 and the men were discharged in mid-December. TMsS. VFM-295

Jacobs, Henry Eyster. Letter from Henry B. Jacobs containing his remembrances of Lincoln. Also, a manuscript from H.E. Jacobs. Some excerpts from the manuscript were published in Dr. Jacob's book, " Lincoln's Gettysburg World Message" in 1919. ALS-3pp. MS-39pp. VFM-79

Japanese newspaper. From the 24th year of the Meiji period, ca. May 20, 1891. MS-6pp. VFM-234

Johnson, Martin. Certificate of U.S. citizenship issued by the Superior Court of the City of New York. 20 Feb. 1854. D-1p. VFM-81

Kennedy, John Fitzgerald. Note of thanks from Mrs. Kennedy for letters of condolence on the passing of her husband. N-2pp. VFM-83

Kirby, Rollin. Letter from Kirby of the NY World to T.Y. Cooper regarding a "York, PA" cartoon that had been published in The World. 18 Jan. 1929. TLS-1p. VFM-85

Kissinger, Henry A. Letter from Kissinger to Pres. Hanson declining an invitation to come to campus to receive an honorary Doctor of Law degree. TLS-1p. VFM-86

Klos, Stanley. Letter from Mr. Bernard Law Montgomery, First Viscount Montgomery of Al 'Alamayn. 15 May 1936. MS-3pp. VFM-270

Ku Klux Klan. Advertisement for the KKK's flag presentation in Camp Hill. 26 Feb. 1928. MS-1p. VFM-187

Koons, Rev. Robert W. Several Chapel Talks, including a Memorial Message in memory of John F. Kennedy. 5 MS items. VFM-221

Lansing, Robert. Letter to the Honorable Harry H. Pratt regarding the passing of a new Act in Congress. 18 Dec. 1917. TLS-2pp. VFM-91

Lowden, Frank Orren. Short letter to Miss Rhea Stamm, acknowledging her note. 5 May 1928. ALS-1p. VFM-95

Mansfield, Mike; Earl Warren, and John W. McCormack. Eulogies to the Late President Delivered in the Rotunda of the United States Capital, November 24, 1963. Printed pamphlet of three poems and eulogies given by Senate Majority Leader, Mike Mansfield; Chief Justice, Earl Warren; and Speaker of the House, John W. McCormack in remembrance of John F. Kennedy. 12 Dec. 1963. Ms-6pp. VFM-282

Mencken, H.L. The Papers of the Wilton C. Dinges Collection (H.L. Mencken Collection). Includes biographical information on Mencken, correspondence, and a variety of Mencken's manuscripts and publications. MS-001

National Police Gazette. Several bound issues of the National Police Gazette from 20 June 1846 - 12 Dec. 1846. Also contains several pages from the Journal of the American Temperance Union, the Oct. 1848 issue of Pittsburgh Monthly Museum, and the 1 Nov. 1846 issue of The London World of Fashion. Ms-134pp. VFM-330

Nixon, Richard M. Inauguration memorabilia. Souvenir invitation to the 1973 presidential inauguration of President Richard Milhous Nixon. Envelope addressed to Dr. C. A. Hanson of Gettysburg College. Order form for the official inaugural medal. Ms-3pp. VFM-293

Norton, Charles Eliot. Christmas card dating 1903. C(signed)-1p. VFM-105

Office of the Union Canal Company of Pennsylvania. 36cm x 54cm broadside titled "Report, Relative to the Enlargement of the Union Canal." and minuets of the Meeting of the President and Managers of the Union Canal Company of Pennsylvania. 26 May 1922. 2 D. VFM-253 (oversize)

"On The Trail of Moän, or Nick Carter Meets With a Great Surprise." New Nick Carter Weekly 627 (New York: Street & Smith, January 2, 1909). Ms-32 pp. VFM-223

Paper Money- United States. $5 Bill of 1907 with picture of a family in the wilderness. $1 bill of 1923, $2 bill of 1776, entitling the bearer to 9 shillings sterling, Annapolis, MD. D-3pieces. VFM-110

Pershing, John Joseph. Letter from Pershing to Mr. Harry Dravo Parking, or LA California, concerning a photograph sent to him. 20 Nov. 1926. TLS-1p. VFM-116

"Planks From the Suffrage Platform." 12" x 8.25" broadside. Raleigh, NC: Printed by Capital Printing Co., ca. 1920. D-1p. VFM-255

"Reject the Susan B. Anthony Amendment." 12.25" x 8.25" broadside. Raleigh, NC: Printed by the Edwards & Broughton Printing Co, ca. 1920. D-1p. VFM-256

Rockefeller, Nelson A. Letter from Gov. Rockefeller to Mrs. Pennell accompanying his book, "The Future of Federalism." 19 July 1962. TLS-3pp. VFM-123

Rosenberger, Homer T. Correspondence between Rosenberger and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Included is a signed photograph of Mrs. Roosevelt and the original letter she sent Mr. Rosenberger. PS. T.L.s. 1848. VFM-368

Schillers-Gesellschaft. Constitution of Schillers-Gesellschaft written in German. 18 Dec. 1848. ADS-6pp. VFM-125

"Signature of 450,000". Book published for the 65th Anniversary Convention of the International Ladies Garment Worker's Union in Miami Beach, Florida in May 1965. VFM-272

Singer, Florence. Class of 1939. Letters to Jerold Wikoff regarding her time as a missionary and listing other Gettysburg College graduates who went into missionary work. Includes copies of letters Rodger Singer wrote to his family from Hong Kong, and b/w photos. 11 items. VFM-226

Singmaster, Elsie. "A Friend," in The Saturday Evening Post. 13 October 1928. MS-2pp. VFM-204 (oversize)

Singmaster-Lawars, Elsie. Letter from Elsie to Mr. Cooper complementing his book. 17 Jan. 1930. TLS-1p. VFM-132

Smith, Horace H. 14 photos of the ambassador's experiences in Laos, 2 maps of the region, notes from the ambassador, and an official report and Constitution of Laos. 1958. MS-84pp. VFM-134

Smith, Samuel F. Lyrics of "My Country 'Tis of Thee" handwritten by author, also an accompanying informational postcard. 25 April 1893. AMsS-2pp. VFM-136

"Sold for a Soldier; or The Life of His Regiment." Edwards, Ward. War Library: Original Stories of Adventure in the War for the Union 6:131 (New York: Novelist Publishing Co., March 14, 1885). MS-24pp. CWVFM-122

Stambaugh, Fred. Letters of recommendation on his behalf, and copy of the official orders calling twenty-seven Gettysburg College men into action for WWII. 5 Feb. 1943. D-7pp. VFM-194

Stevens, Justice John Paul. Letter to President Haaland praising the Robert G. Seaks '31 scholarship. 16 April 2001. TLS-1p. VFM-195

Stevens, Thaddeus. Three letters written from Lancaster, PA to either PA College or Lutheran Seminary, one was thanking the Board of Trustees for "Steven's Hall." ALS-5pp. VFM-141

Stickney, Fred. Liberty War Diary of WWI, 1 Jan. 1918 - 31 Dec. 1918. AMsS-100pp. VFM-196

Surratt, Mary E. Newspaper article and several pamphlets declaring the innocence of Mary Surratt in the assassination of Lincoln and her untimely death. Incl. 2 pictures of the execution. MS-42pp. VFM-147

Taft, William Howard. Letter to Frank Loveland from Taft, Gov. General of the Philippines at the time. 16 Feb. 1901. TLS-3pp. VFM-148

Tanner, James. Letter to his friend Alfred Rowles, describing the death of Abraham Lincoln, at which Tanner was a witness. 25 April 1865. ALS-2pp. VFM-149

Taylor, Amos E., Class of 1915. Collection contains a potpurri of American history sources, including photographs and ephemera on Woodrow Wilson and typed copies of diaries that Taylor kept while at the U.S. Department of Commerce, 1930 to 1947. MS-003

Tidball, John C. See "Reminiscences of Savannah, 1849." MS-021

Trading Card. Ephemera-1879, Tollgate No. 2. A 19th Century Victorian collectible trading card with advertisements on the back. Ms-1. VFM-326

"Vietnam, 10 Years After" 1985 - 1986. "An Emerging American Identity and the Vietnam Veteran." Conference held at Gettysburg College. A collection of signed letters from Vietnam Veterans, newspaper articles, planning committee correspondence, and brochures. ALS-120pp. VFM-302

Waller, Odell. Many bulletins, petitions, and newsletters from the Workers' Defense League in attempt to manufacture support for the defense of Odell Waller. 1942. MS-60+ pp. VFM-158

Walters, Charles C. Several letters written while in encampment in VA, 1862. ALS-7pp. VFM-159

Washington, George. Three letters from Washington, two of them originals. 1779, 1797, 1799. ALS-4pp. VFM-161

Whitney, Eli. Photocopies and transcriptions of correspondence letters between Whitney and Washington, Madison, Randolph, and Jefferson. 1793-1794. MS-22pp. VFM-165

Wilkie, Wendell L. Letter from Wilkie and Republican political advertisement from 1940, promoting Wilkie for President. TLS-13pp. VFM-164

Willoughby, Charles A. Collection contains Willoughby's (Douglas MacArthur's Chief of Intelligence, 1940-1951) personal papers, army papers, materials on the Korean War and Sorge Espionage Case, as well as photographs and newspaper clippings. MS-024

Wolf, Thomas P. Bulk of the material concerns the Nixon Papers. See the collection for White House press releases, news clippings, transcripts of hearings and proceedings, and printed briefs of the Supreme Court. Unprocessed collection.

"Yank: The Army Weekly." Magazine written for and by the men in Service during World War II. September 10, 1943 Issue. Includes photocopies of the magazine. VFM-275

Yingling, Jacob M., Class of 1952. The papers document Yingling's leadership in the Maryland House of Delegates (1962-1972) and the Maryland Department of Economic and Community Development (1972-1979). In addition, the miscellaneous series contains publications related to the history of the Catholic Church in the United States. MS-049

Consult an archivist for assistance with these items.