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Adirondack Research Library: Primary Sources

This guide serves as a starting point to introduce faculty, staff and students to resources held by the Adirondack Research Library located at the Kelly Adirondack Center of Union College.


Primary sources are the evidence of history, original records or objects created by participants and observers at the time historical events occurred. The ARL archival collections are one-of-a-kind records created by individuals and organizations that reflect their daily lives or business. Unlike traditional library book collections, the archival materials are primarily unpublished and unique. Formats range from photographs and letters to three-dimensional objects and ephemera.  

Using the ARL Archives

Because archival collections consist of primary source (unique) documents, using them requires specific policies and procedures. For example, the collections may not be checked out and researchers often need to visit the archives to view materials. In some cases, archival collections may be online. However, protocols for using the collections are necessary to maximize security and minimize damage. For example, researchers are asked to wash their hands before handling archival materials and use only #2 pencils for note taking. However, researchers may bring laptops and take photos of materials.

Guide to the Archives

This is an introductory guide to select collections at the ARL. For more information, please contact the ARL. 

Finding Aids

Finding aids are descriptive guides that help researchers navigate archival collections. Note that not every collection at the ARL has a finding aid at present.