Thursday, October 25, 2012

Library Vertical Files: an overlooked resource

Vertical files are folders containing material grouped by subject. If you're looking for information of significance for the local community, and sometimes beyond, a quick check of the local library's holdings of vertical files may be productive. They are rarely comprehensive, usually made up of clippings from newspapers and magazines, but you may find other material including, as I did with Wiggins, a several page unpublished manuscript.

Unfortunately, budget constraints mean that fewer libraries now compile vertical files but most still maintain their legacy collection. They are little publicized.

Even if your ancestor was not sufficiently prominent to merit a vertical file for him or herself they may have played a part in a company or event documented in such a file. The reference librarian in the community where an ancestor lived can be your best friend in searching out these resources.

Thanks to John D. Reid for this reminder. You can visit John's blog at

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