Research Guides at the Phillips Library

Research Guides, Phillps Library Reading RoomIrene Axelrod, Head Research Librarian, and Catherine Robertson, Library Reading Room Assistant, wrote the following post about research guides available in the Reading Room.

According to our website, “The Phillips Library collections include approximately 400,000 books, pamphlets, and broadsides; over 2,000 collections of Essex County, Massachusetts, manuscripts, including family papers, institutional and business records, account books, and diaries; and extensive holdings of maps and ephemera.”  The sheer quantity of material in our holdings can be overwhelming for researchers of all levels of experience.  The Reference and Research staff at the Phillips Library have years of experience working with the astounding materials in our collections and facilitate use of the collections for all patrons.

One of the ways the library works for our patrons is through the creation of Research Guides.  Our latest Research Guide, Nathaniel Hawthorne, was put together by the Head Research Librarian, Irene Axelrod.  Nathaniel Hawthorne Research Guide, Page 2The library has two large manuscript collections which contain correspondence, business, and legal papers of Nathaniel Hawthorne and his family.  His father’s logbooks of the America and the Perseverance paint a picture of life at sea and in foreign lands.  The Essex County Collection and the Frazer Clark collection have many works by and about Nathaniel Hawthorne.  When we chose items for the research guide, it was important to include primary source material and manuscript items such as letters, business and legal papers and logbooks.  Secondary source materials include books by Nathaniel Hawthorne and books about him and his work, which include biographies and literary criticism.

We have an additional six Guides written by our staff available in the Reading Room:  Essex County Female Authors, PEM Historical Houses, China Trade, Massachusetts Foreign Trade, North Shore Artists, Active 1850 – 1950, and Salem Maritime History.  These Guides provide a wide range of resources available at the Phillips Library and the Peabody Essex Museum for researcher use, from the broadest of general informational texts to manuscript collections, to unique online resources available only through PEM.  Stop by and learn something new about your favorite topic today.

For a sampling of more Research Guides, see below, and for more information about any of the materials found on these Research Guides please consult PHILCAT.

Research Guides:  Essex County Female Authors, PEM Historic Houses

2 thoughts on “Research Guides at the Phillips Library

  1. I have a question about the collection Sidney N. Shurcliff Papers, 1928-1929: is there mention or text about the ILLYRIA, the brigantine which transported the researchers on their expedition to the South Sea islands in 1928-1929? Am looking for data on the ship. I know it was built in Italy—but where? I know it was a large ship, but what where the measurements? Etc., etc. None of the ships registers here at the Los Angeles Maritime Museum Research Library have mention of the yacht at all!

    Thanks very much for directing me to the right person if need be!

  2. Liz, a personal log of a voyage to the Pacific as a member of the Crane Expedition aboard the Brigantine Illyria is included in the Sidney N. Shurcliff Papers, collection E42. For additional information, you may contact the Phillips Library reference staff at

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