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Finding Aids

Page history last edited by Sherri 10 years, 10 months ago

Home > Student/Teacher Section > Finding Aids


A finding aid is a guide that contains detailed information about a specific collection of materials within an archives. Researchers use them to determine whether there is information within a collection for their research.


Looking at the example below, see if you can find:

  • How large the collection is either by the number of items or in cubic feet.
  • The dates that materials in the collection were created.  
  • A description of the collection (called a scope and content note).
  • Information about the creator of the collection (called a biographical or historical note). 
  • A content list, which is like a table of contents. The content list (sometimes called box list or container list) doesn't usually list every piece of paper in the folder; it gives a general heading for whatever is in the folder, and whether the contents are papers, maps, booklets, photographs, CDs, etc.
  • If materials are restricted or available to researchers.
  • If this collection would be useful for a topic about Eleanor Roosevelt or communism.



Finding Aid for the Eleanor Roosevelt Letters, 1938-1959

Rare Books and Manuscripts

University Libraries

Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania

Descriptive Summary:

This collection consists of 4 typescript letters from Eleanor Roosevelt.


0 cubic feet plus 4 items

Date Span:


History or Biographical Notes:

Eleanor Roosevelt was born in New York and educated in England. She was the niece of Theodore Roosevelt and married her cousin Franklin Roosevelt in 1905. She strongly supported her husband's political career and began her own work for social causes, such as civil rights, labor, and women. During World War II, she traveled extensively, visiting troops, and wrote a syndicated column, "My Day," 1936-1962. After her husband's death in 1945, she became a delegate to the United Nations, 1946-1953.

Scope and Content:

The collection contains 4 typescript letters from Eleanor Roosevelt to Donald S. Klopp on 6 Sept. 1938 indicating she didn't know who a certain columnist [Westbrook Pegler] was and that she would be delighted to hear any comments from Mr. Klopp about her column (My Day); to Mr. Battan on 30 April 1957 discussing Communist China having troops in North Korea and North Vietnam, Gandhi and Nehru, and indicates that she is not contemplating running for President; to Robert G. Grey on 17 June 1958 thanking him for his letter about the Humane Slaughtering Bill; and to My dear Students, 12 May 1959 about America's role against Communism.


Unrestricted access.

Box No.


Year Range



Letter to Donald S. Klopp





Letter to Mr. Battan





Letter to Robert B. Grey





Letter to my dear students




Society of American Archivists Reference, Access and Outreach Section's National History Day Committee| Credits

The Society of American Archivists does not assume responsibility for the opinions and views published on this auxiliary site.


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Comments (2)

smdm@srsofcharity.org said

at 8:24 am on Jun 29, 2011

- For students, the word "typescript" should be defined/explained
- In the real world, I realize not all finding aids are perfect, but the sample, I think, could be improved. In the Scope and Content description, I would expect that there would be some identification of Mr. Battan, as well as his first name; presumably Robert B. Grey is a private citizen?, so perhaps that should be noted.
What is intended by the word "textual" in the chart

baltman@fsu.edu said

at 7:20 am on Jun 30, 2011

I'd tighten up the Scope and Content description, and say,"The collection contains 4 typescript letters from Eleanor Roosevelt to Donald S. Klopp, ? Battan, Robert B. Grey, and "to my dear students," 1938-1959. Then I'd say, "Topics include Roosevelt's syndicated column, Communist China, North Korea, North Vietnam, Mahatma Gandhi, and Jawaharlal Nehru, her decision not to run for president, the Humane Slaughtering Bill, and America's role against Communism, instead of stringing
out long sentences.

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