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Native American Resources in the Manuscript Division


Program for the White House Pre-Conference On Indian Library and Information Services On or Near Reservations. Special Projects and Other Employment; Reports, Virginia H. Mathews papers. 1978. Library of Congress, Manuscript Division.

The Manuscript Division holds a number of collections related to Native American education, from Indian boarding schools to reservation libraries. 

The division's collection of Richard Henry Pratt's papers illuminates the connections between Pratt’s military and educational career through an autobiographical manuscript and related records. Pratt founded the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in 1879. Other collections described on this page relate to schools that operated on the Carlisle model, like the Fort Spokane Boarding School and the Tomah Indian School.

Another collection on this topic is the Hildegard Thompson papers. Thompson served as chief of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Branch of Education from 1952-1965. Her papers document a lesser-studied period in the history of federal Indian schools, where strict deculturation and off-reservation boarding schools were beginning to fall out of favor.

Separate from the history of American Indian schools, the Virginia H. Mathews papers stand out as a collection created by a Native American woman working on behalf of Native interests. Mathews was a member of the Osage Nation and a literary advocate, and her papers detail her work with the American Indian Library Association and other organizations to improve access to books and library services on Native reservations.

Tip: Search collection names in the community name index for a fuller list of specific communities mentioned in each collection.


The following collection titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content, including finding aids for the collections, are included when available.