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Rhoads Memorial Archives: Collection Overview


Collections Overview

Rhoads Memorial Archives serves as the institutional memory of Mount St. Mary's University and Seminary and its faculty, staff, students, and alumni.  Holdings predate the founding in 1808 and consist of a wide range of materials, including

  •  Papers and records of founders and presidents
  •  Alumni records

  • Records of governing bodies and minutes of campus organizations

  •  Office files and audiovisual materials from Public Relations and the Athletic Department 

  •  Manuscripts documenting the day to day workings of the College & Seminary from 1808

  • Emmitsburg Town Burgess & Commissioners minutes and records, including the charter and ordinances, 1851-1858, 1878-1947

  • Photographs and scrapbooks relating to the University

  • Art collection, including paintings, prints, stained glass, and sculpture

  • Papers of faculty and class materials

  • Slavery, Civil War, and World War II records.

How are the collections organized?

Archival records and manuscripts are arranged following the principles of provenance and original order.

Each collection of records in Mount Saint Mary’s Archives is assigned to one of 21 record groups, based on the creator or recipient or a particular physical format, such as artwork, audiovisual material, and manuscripts. Unlike libraries, archival and manuscript repositories do not arrange their collections by subject. A single document or image, for example, may encompass a wide range of topics, making arrangement by subject impractical. Further, meaning can often be gleaned from the item’s context and the unfolding development of the record. Therefore, archivists and manuscript curators will make every effort to keep their collections in the order in which their creators devised, unless the materials reach the Archives in total disarray, and no useful order can be discerned. In these situations, the archivist will try to reconstruct the order or impose an arrangement that is useful to the researcher. However, archivists do not mix the records of one organization or individual with those of another.

For a discussion of these principles of provenance and original order, see "How Are Archival Materials Arranged?" in the section on Visiting Archives.

For more information on archival arrangement and description, see the section on Archival Processing.


How to search the collection

To aid the researcher, Archives staff has prepared finding guides, such as finding aids, catalogs, or indices, which identify in detail the contents of the collections.  Often, these finding aids describe materials at a very specific level; folder or document title, for example.  As collections are processed, more guides will be available online.


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