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Special Collections - Art Sources: ARTH-214 Methods in Art History

Past Methods in Art History Catalogs

Visual Resources Online

Artstor Digital Library provides students and faculty with over 1.8 million digital images from a plethora of institutions, including museums, photo archives, libraries, and artists' estates. You can use the image viewer and various tools to save searches and create your own set of images for a project or paper. Please contact a Research & Instruction Librarian for help with understanding copyright restrictions and usage of these images. 

JSTOR Forum allows Special Collections & College Archives to share more of its collections with our campus community. Explore the College's art collection through our Institutional Collections, available on the Artstor main page, as well as our open access Shared Shelf Commons Map Collection. 

Researching the Gettysburg College Art Collection

As you begin research on your chosen piece, don't forget to use the Art & Art History: ARTH-214 Research Guide. It is your best starting point for researching specific artists, movements, and other topics. 

The Gettysburg College Art Collection records are not available to the public or online; therefore, it is necessary to contact a member of the Special Collections staff working with your class for provenance and other relevant information about your object. Visit us during our open hours, call to make an appointment, or contact us via our Ask an Archivist form. 



Asian Art
A digital archive showcasing half of the College's 2,000-item collection of Asian art, which includes ceramics, jewelry, jade, and other artifacts.


GettDigital Collections

GettDigital Collections

GettDigital is an online portal to the digital collections created by Special Collections and College Archives. These digital primary sources include a wide variety of material types representing subjects such as College History, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, Eisenhower, and rare book bindings. 



Finding Materials

These tabs are an introduction to the basic resources at Special Collections. For more specific concerns, see our Special Collections subject pages or go to your class page. 

Remember, the staff of Special Collections is an additional resource. Talk to a staff member about your topic; they often know additional materials in Special Collections and elsewhere that will help your research!

Some materials in Special Collections can be found through MUSCAT Plus, Musselman Library's catalog. This includes books, maps, music recordings, pamphlets, and sheet music. Items in Special Collections will have "SC use only" under their status and a location that includes "Special Collections."

You will find that some items in Special Collections are found in various parts of the library. You are welcome to come upstairs and request them for use in the reading room, but may find it easier to look for a copy elsewhere. In the case below, Reference and Special Collections hold a copy of the Alumni Directory. 

Alumni Directories

Because Special Collections has closed stacks, only staff members can retrieve items that are not already in the Reading Room. If you require a book from Special Collections, simply write down the call number and a staff member can retrieve it for you. All books must stay in the Reading Room.

Manuscript collections are centered on a person or group related to the college in some way. For example, Special Collections has MS-004 Frank H. Kramer Papers, Class of 1914, a man who was both an alumnus of the college and a professor for many years.

Manuscript collections have both a number and a title, usually formatted as MS-[number] [Name] Papers. This tells both the subject of the collection and that it is a manuscript collection. These boxes are available upon request in Special Collections. To help researchers, Special Collections has finding aids for manuscript collections. Finding aids give background information on the subject, notes about the collection, and a list of the collection's contents. For an example, see this finding aid for MS-168 Lena and Dr. Robert Fortenbaugh '13 Papers.

Our website has a list of manuscript collections and links to their finding aids.

Vertical files are small collections based on a particular subject or person. An index of folder subjects and a brief description of their contents are available at the vertical manuscripts page of our website. Folders include letters, bills, report cards, notebooks, photographs, and ration books.

There is a separate section for Civil War Vertical Files, an index for which is listed on our website. Most Civil War files include detailed descriptions of their contents. Examples of materials include letters, regiment ledgers, diaries, and military forms.

GettDigital is an online portal to our digital collections. While not all of our materials are digitalized, a few of our major collections are featured, including the Asian Art collection, three map collections, some Civil War materials, and our most popular college publications including the Gettysburgian, the Spectrum, the Alumni Bulletin, and the college catalogue. These materials can be accessed from anywhere on campus. Find the full collection on our website.


The Reading Room has three rotating exhibit displays for visitors to enjoy during our open hours. Each display has a different theme, and changes throughout the year. Please explore our current and past exhibits on our website or stop up and see them in person!

Recent exhibits:

 old Gettysburg Back to thee:
student social memory through the 1960s

February 15 - June 30, 2016. 

Our newest exhibit explores the social outlets of students from the College's earliest days through the early 1960s. The exhibit was curated by seniors Melanie, Jenna Fleming, and Avery Fox.


We All Liked Ike!
February 2 - December 18, 2015. 

The exhibit examines Eisenhower's supporters and how they expressed their faith in and admiration of General Eisenhower, and features artifacts and photographs in the Gettysburg College collection and elsewhere. For more information, see the exhibit webpage.


Rising Star on the World Stage: America's Centennial Exhibition, 1876. January 1 - June 30, 2015.  

This exhibit illustrates the "International Exhibition of Arts, Manufacturers, and Products of the Soil and Mine," more commonly referred to as The Centennial Exhibition. Held in Philadelphia, it was the first world's fair held in the United States, and became a defining moment in the world's perception of the relatively young nation. 


 Slaves, Soldiers, Citizens: African American Artifacts of the Civil War Era. 
Fall 2012 - December 2013. 

This exhibit follows African Americans on their journey from the antebellum days of slavery through the Civil War  years as United States Colored Troops and freedmen to citizenship in post-bellum America. These artifacts and documents are on generous loan from the private collection of Angelo Scarlato. Mr. Scarlato is a retired educator who has been collecting materials on the 19th century African American experience, the Battle of Gettysburg and Adams County history for over 30 years. Special Collections is honored to have these unique primary sources on exhibit for our students and researchers.

When citing materials from Special Collections, please cite the full name of the collection and of Special Collections.  Please see your professor for the proper style and any special concerns.

 Example of letter citation: 

Writer, Method of Communication to Recipient, Date. Number of Collection: Name of Collection, Name of repository, Place.

Thomas, Luther J. Letter to his parents, Anna and Luther C. Thomas, April 8, 1943. MS-171: Letters of Corporal Luther J. "Jake" Thomas, World War II, Special Collections and College Archives, Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. 

Special Collections and College Archives provides rich primary source material for courses in many academic departments. A class visit can lead to engaging conversation, hands-on research, tangible connections to the past, and a new relationship with our knowledgeable staff. 

Here is a sampling of courses and how they have used Special Collections and College Archives materials:

ARTH214 - Methods in Art History, Professor Yan Sun

HIST300 - History Methods, Professor Michael Birkner

Special Collections & College Archives

Profile Photo
Special Collections Guides
Special Collections & College Archives Musselman Library
Gettysburg College
Box 420
300 N. Washington Street
Gettysburg, PA 17325

717-337-7002 - Director

717-337-7006 - Archivist

717-337-7014 - General Inquiries


Ask an Archivist

Special Collections Reading Room

Musselman Library, 4th Floor

All research visits are by appointment only

We have 6 research tables available for booking during our research hours

Mon, Thurs, Fri : 1 - 5 PM
Tues, Wed : 1 - 5  and 6 - 9 PM

Students, faculty, and staff can schedule research appointments using