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Archives Research Center General Research Guide: Collection Highlights

Identifying and locating primary sources at the Archives Research Center and Beyond

Archives Research Center Hours

 Semester Research Hours for Summer 2020


Mon. – Thurs. 1pm-5pm
Fri. 1pm-5pm
Sat. Closed
Sun. Closed


*Appointments must be made 24 business hours in advance.


Book and Digital Collections

Book Collections: 

The ARC has a collection of Rare Books that are available for researchers via our Reading Room. These books consist of limited printings, 1st editions and autographed titles. Our Rare Book collections also included books from an array of individuals' personal libraries, including:

  • John Henrik Clarke Aricana Book Collection 
  • Dr. Henry Louis Gates Book Collection 
  • Constance Curry Book Collection 
  • Spelman College Dr. Johnetta B. Cole Book Collection 
  • The Spike Lee Collection of Books on Sports 
  • Morehouse College Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Book Collection 

Digital Collections/ RADAR:

Digitized archival collections feature a myriad of formats including photographs, audio and video resources, and publications and encompassing a broad perspective of subjects and archival collections.

Many digital collections are available from anywhere on the web, while other collections, such as The Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection, are available only within the Archives Research Center. A Digital Collection Celebrating the Founding of the Historically Black College and University is one such example that is available online. It is a collection of primary resources from Historically Black College and University libraries and archives. Atlanta University Center theses, dissertations and electronic journals are also represented in the Repository of AUC Digital collections, Archives, and Research (RADAR).


Collection Highlights

Primary sources provide compelling, direct evidence of human activity. Users who encounter primary sources gain a unique perspective on the subject they are studying, and an opportunity to learn firsthand how primary sources are used for original research. As you learn to successfully engage with primary sources, you also gain important skills that help you navigate the use of other information sources, and further develop your critical thinking skills.

Immersed within the historic Atlanta University Center is one of the richest collections of primary and secondary resources on African American and African Diaspora history and culture. The Archives Research Center [ARC] helps to connect the local community and the world to the rich historical and cultural resources at the Atlanta University Center. The ARC is comprised of an extensive and unique collection of books, personal papers of individuals and families, and administrative records of organizations and institutions. The collections cover a broad range of subjects documenting the impact of race and racism on the lives of Black people and their endeavors for freedom, self-determination, equality, and empowerment. The subject focus expands to embrace documentation on the commonality of culture and interconnectedness of fate, experiences, and aspirations of people of African descent.

The Archives Research Center, contains over 150 manuscript, photograph, and book collections that are accessible to the public.


Available Collections

Biographical/Vertical Files

A biographical file typically consists of materials which document an individual’s life. Generally, materials are found within one folder, and can contain obituaries, news clippings, and resumes, and have been compiled by archives staff.

A vertical file typically consists of materials which document a particular topic, subject, or organization. Generally, materials are found within one folder, and can contain news clippings, publications, and programs, and have been compiled by archives staff.

Manuscript Collections:

The core of the manuscript holdings in Archives Research Center is built upon the Atlanta University Trevor Arnett Library's Negro Collection. The collections document civil rights, race relations, education, literature, visual and performing arts, religion, politics, and social work, to name a few. There are also significant holdings about African Americans in Atlanta and documentation about the Atlanta University Center schools