Archives and Special Collections are open by appointment only, limited to UMN affiliates. Appointments must be made one week in advance of your visit. Contact or the curator of the collecting area you wish to use for assistance. We continue to provide scans of requested research materials when possible, especially for our non-campus clientele.

Illuminated capital letter from Bartolomeus Anglicus' 14th-century encylopediaIlluminated Manuscript

The Bell Library holds a variety of materials in manuscript form, dating from 400 C.E. to 1884 C.E.: charters, treaties, bills of lading, contracts, letters, memoranda, and notarial and other single documents; journals, diaries, memoires, and letterbooks; collections of family papers, business records, government records, and correspondence; memorandum and instruction books; commercial tables; travel accounts and other narratives; translations; medieval works such as a 15th-century Life of Mohammed, and a 13th-century copy of Speculum historiale.

Most of our manuscript and archival holdings are part of the University of Minnesota's online catalog and can be searched for by subject, title, author, and date.  Those holdings that are not yet part of the online catalog can be found in our card catalog at the Library;  you may also contact the curatorial staff for assistance.

Finding Aids to the Bell Archive Collections

Indexes, or finding aids, have been created for some of our large archival collections and several of them are available online through the searchable Archives and Special Collections Finding Aids database. These are listed below.

  • Archive Collection Documenting Jesuit Activities in Mexico and South America
  • The Carver Land Grant Papers
  • Convento y Hospital de Santa Toribio de Refugio de la Ciudad de Lima Records
  • The De Mey van Streefkirk Papers
  • Izcue y Arias (Firm) Records and Related Documents
  • Jesuit Manuscripts Relating to China
  • Manuel Gallego y Valcarcal Papers
  • Swedish East India Company Records
  • Viceroyalty of Peru Records
  • Village of Horche, Spain Records and Papers


Video on the Swedish East India Company