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Finding Primary Sources for Historical Research: ARC / WHS

How to find primary sources for historical topics

Special Collections, Area Research Center & Archives

The Area Research Center (ARC) is located, along with the Library's Special Collections and University Archives, on the first floor of the Library. The ARC is open to faculty, staff, students, and the public during specified hours.

The ARC is a cooperative venture between the University and the Wisconsin Historical Society. It is one of thirteen centers located throughout Wisconsin which contain local government records and manuscripts for designated groups of counties. Each ARC may borrow materials from the others for the use of its patrons. These materials may be identified through the Wisconsin Historical Society's Archives catalog or through Research@UWW. Most of the items found using Research@UWW can be borrowed by the ARC for patron use. For more information about the Area Research Center network, see the About the Area Research Center Network web page.

UW-Whitewater's ARC covers the materials of Rock, Jefferson, and Walworth counties. Most of the materials in the ARC cannot be checked out. For further information on ARC materials and services, see the following web page: http://library.uww.edu/special-collections/area-research-center.

Finding and Borrowing Items from the Wisconsin Historical Society Library

The Wisconsin Historical Society is located on the UW-Madison campus. Both its Library and its Archives are important for historical research. The Archives "provides access to collections of unpublished materials about the history of Wisconsin and a wide array of topics related to North American history." In contrast, the Library "provides access to published materials [such as books, pamphlets, and newspapers] . . . about virtually all aspects of North American history." For more information on the types of holdings in the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives and Library, see the About the Library-Archives web page.

For information on finding and borrowing materials from the WHS Archives, see the Area Research Center section of this guide.

To locate items in the WHS Library, search UW-Madison's online catalog. Materials found in UW-Madison's online catalog are not borrowed through the Andersen Library Area Research Center; instead, use UW Request or interlibrary loan to obtain these items. Which borrowing option to use depends upon the item; see the Borrowing from Other Libraries section of this guide to find out how to obtain the item you need, or contact a reference librarian.

Newspapers at the Wisconsin Historical Society

The WHS has many newspapers from Wisconsin and around the country available on microfilm in the WHS Library. These newspapers are found using UW-Madison's online catalog.

For a bibliography of newspaper holdings in the Wisconsin Historical Society, see the following resource, kept at the Andersen Library Reference Desk:

Danky, James P., and Maureen E. Hady, eds. Newspapers in the State Historical Society of Wisconsin: A Bibliography with Holdings. New York: Norman Ross Publishing, 1994.
Call number: Ref Z6952 .W8 N49 1994 2 vols.

Volume I contains listings of Wisconsin newspapers and volume II contains listings of U.S. and foreign newspapers. 

Newspapers on microfilm at the Wisconsin Historial Society can be borrowed via interlibrary loan. Each reel needed must be on a separate interlibrary loan request form, even if the reels are from the same newspaper. Ask a reference librarian for assistance, as certain information is required.