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Business and Labor History: Primary Sources at the Library of Congress

Manuscript Reading Room

The Manuscript Division seeks to preserve personal papers and organizational records that document the course of America's national experience. Its more than twelve thousand collections and more than seventy million items touch upon every aspect of American history and culture. The Manuscript Division's holdings are strongest, however, in the areas of American national government, the federal judiciary, diplomacy, military history, women's history, and black history. 

The Manuscript Reading Room is open from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Saturday. Researchers are strongly advised to contact reading room staff by email to mss@loc.gov at least 3-5 days in advance of visiting. Many collections are located in an off-site storage facility and require advance notice, or have a restriction on access.

  • Security regulations prohibit bringing some types of personal property into the reading room and lockers are provided for researcher use.
  • Overhead scanners are available for use free of charge with the approval of reference staff. Researchers must bring their own USB drive to save scans. Traditional paper copies are available for $0.20 per page, and accept credit or debit cards.
  • Microfilm editions of manuscript collections often may be borrowed on InterlibraryLoan.