Graduate student? Undergraduate? Working on a History Day Project? The James Ford Bell Library has primary resources that will help make your project/paper shine!

Getting Started

For items not yet part of the online catalog, we've prepared this listing in pdf form: Bell Library Auxiliary Catalog

  • Contact the staff for a library orientation (612-624-1528 or We are happy to provide this service for students new to archives and special collections, for classes, and for anyone interested in obtaining a broad overview of the collection before beginning a research project or planning a course. Tell us your research topic and we will help you to find the relevant materials in the collection.
  • Check out The Collection section of this Web site. Here you will find highlights of some of the collection’s special features, policies concerning photocopies and digital images, our historical maps online, links to our archival collection finding aids (inventories) and other useful information.
  • Visit the University Libraries Web site: More than 90% of the Bell collection is part of the University libraries online catalog. Choose MNCAT Classic, and then Advanced Search: here you can search the Bell collection specifically by author, title, and key word. If you need assistance searching the catalog, don’t hesitate to contact the Bell Library staff for assistance.
  • Visit the Bell Library. We have a physical card catalog that contains all of our holdings, searchable both alphabetically and by date. We have a print catalog of our holdings through 1991; catalogs and bibliographies of specific topical holdings; and other tools to help you research your topic.

Graduate Students Undergraduate Students History Day Students
Looking for a topic? Looking for a primary source? We can help.


Research Tools

Bell Library Research Bibliographies

These subject bibliographies were created by staff members to aid researchers in finding materials in the Bell Library collection. Searchable Web versions will be available soon. Contact us at or 612-624-1528 for more information.

  • The Caribbean
  • Louisiana
  • The Middle Ages
  • The Northwest Passage
  • Ottoman Empire
  • Scandinavia
  • Slavery/Slave Trade
  • The Spanish in North America
  • English Language Only


Research Tutorials & Recorded Workshops
Using Archives & Special Collections: Tutorials, Tools & Useful Links
Online Finding Aids for U of M Libraries Archives
Style Manuals and Citation Guides
Online Guide to Research and Documentation. Diana Hacker, Bedford St Martins

Other Library and Archival Resources

Resources In the Twin Cities
National & International Resources