One of the benefits of researching in the Western States is the abundance of specialized libraries and museums that preserve artifacts and manuscript collections for this region. Quite often a museum will have a research library connected to it, and these libraries can be overlooked by genealogists as we tend to overlook museums as a resource.
TIP: Compile a list of all major repositories in the region or state you are researching. A good place to start is the website Repositories of Primary Sources.
Don’t limit yourself to repositories located in the state you are researching, however. I found a valuable manuscript collection pertaining to my Arizona/New Mexico ancestors in the Braun Research Library, a part of the Autry National Center in Los Angeles, California.
The Autry National Center, Los Angeles, California
The Autry National Center in Los Angeles, California is “a history museum dedicated to exploring and sharing the stories, experiences, and perceptions of the diverse peoples of the American West.”
The Autry has online collections which can be searched, but be sure to access the Braun Research Libary and the Autry Library for collections that have not been digitized.
The Braun Research Library is part of the Autry, but the facility is not located on the same site. The online catalog will get you started, and then you can contact them for directions and hours they are open.
Phone: 323.221.2164, ext. 256
Mail: Braun Research Library
234 Museum Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90065
“The strength of the library’s holdings, including its special collections and research material, also provides a context for the study of the art, literature, history, culture, and archaeology of the Native peoples of the Americas. This renowned collection includes approximately 50,000 books and serials, 2,000 sound recordings, 3,000 maps, more than 147,000 historic photographs, 3,000 works of art on paper, and 700 manuscript collections.”
The Autry Library is part of the Autry National Center, and is another research facility. It’s collections are available by appointment only.
Phone: 323.667.2000, ext. 349
Autry National Center
4700 Western Heritage Way
Los Angeles, CA 90027-1462
TIP: Contact a research librarian via email to learn more about a collection before visiting. If you have a specific collection or item you are interested in, notify the librarian in advance of your visit so they can have it pulled for you.
TIP: Each research facility will have special rules about accessing materials. Find out ahead of time what the rules are and what you are allowed to bring in with you.
I hope these tips lead you down some new trails in your research. I think it’s time for a new adventure!