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Locating Materials in the Tamiment Library

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The Tamiment Library collects materials in a wide variety of formats, including personal papers, organizational records, books, serials, oral histories, photographs, prints, posters, video, ephemera, and artifacts. To locate materials in the collection, use the strategies described below, which may involve searching the library catalog, searching electronic finding aids, and using the research guides and tools available via this website and/or at the library.

The NYU Libraries catalog, BobCat, contains records for all of the Tamiment Library’s cataloged materials. BobCat contains item-level records for books, serials, and pamphlets, and collection-level records for archival materials, oral history collections, microfilm sets, and non-print materials. Processed archival collections are described in documents called finding aids or guides. Browse them on the Collection List / Finding Aids page of this website or follow links from the BobCat records of cataloged archival collections.

Please note that not all of the library's collections have been processed and cataloged to date. Consult library reference staff for help finding materials.

All of the materials in the Tamiment Library are non-circulating. This means that they must be used in the library's reading room during our regular hours.

Archival Collections

Tamiment's archival collections relate to labor and social history, the history of the Left, the place of workers in American society, the evolution of labor law, women's history, and immigrant history, and other topics. The Library's Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives is the designated repository for the records of the New York City Central Labor Council, and the Council's member unions and affiliated organizations. Tamiment also holds the Archives of Irish America collections, and rich holdings relating to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, the American Volunteers in the Spanish Civil War. For help finding materials, see our Locating Archival Collections page.


The Tamiment Library has a non-circulating collection of 75,000 books focusing on the history of labor, politics, political thought, literature and the arts. To locate books in the collection, search BobCat under author, title, or subject. Limit your results to the Tamiment Library's holdings by selecting NYU Bobst Tamiment/Wagner from the list of libraries at NYU. And fine-tune results by using the facets at the left of the screen to narrow by author, subject, date range, language, and format.

Digital Images & Collections

A small but growing number of collections and portions of collections have been digitized and are on display through the Tamiment website. These include posters and photographs in ARTstor and a number of online exhibits, as well as within the finding aid to the Fifteenth International Brigade Photographic Unit Photographs Collection, which documents the participation by American volunteers on the side of the Republican government in the Spanish Civil War. Some, but not all, of these digitized images may be reproduced. Please see our Digital Collections page for more information.

Government Documents

Books, pamphlets, reports, statistics, serials, and other documents published by local, state, and federal government agencies represent a rich source of information for researchers on virtually every subject. Though the Tamiment Library is not a repository library, we do collect government documents relating to our subject areas, broadly defined as labor and the left. See the Government Documents page in our Library Overview Research Guide for more information.

Nonprint Collections

The nonprint collections of the Tamiment Library consist of posters, broadsides, photographs, film, videotapes, cartoons, drawings, prints, political buttons, and other ephemera that provide a rich visual record of the history of labor and radical politics. Much of this visual material doesn't just supplement information in manuscript collections and papers -- it can also provide evidence that is not available in written sources. See our Locating Nonprint Collections page for details.

Oral History Collections

The Tamiment Library holds more than 80 oral history collections containing hundreds of interviews with labor leaders, rank-and-file workers, and political activists; audiotapes of speeches, concerts, conferences, memorial meetings, union meetings and other public and private events; and commercial recordings such as radio broadcasts. Consult the Oral History Collections Research Guide for information on finding and using collections.

Pamphlet Collections

Tamiment's collections include tens of thousands of pamphlets in print and on microfilm. Subject coverage spans a wide range of topics such as radical politics, civil rights, civil liberties, virtually all aspects of labor and working class movements including labor union strikes, the McCarthy era, the Spanish Civil War, Irish Americans, anarchism, communism, socialism, anti-war movements, feminism, student movements, and countless other topics. Included are publications of labor unions and radical organizations, individual authors, and government documents. See our Pamphlet Collections Research Guide for details on using these materials.

Printed Ephemera Collections

The printed ephemera collections consist of over one millions items such as fliers, brochures, handbills, leaflets and pamphlets, along with other printed materials arranged in more than forty distinct collections, each with its own finding aid. There are four main collections consisting of alphabetical runs of materials on Organizations, Individuals, Subjects, and Trade Unions. The other collections focus on individual organizations such as the Communist Party of the USA, the Socialist Party (U.S.), the Socialist Workers Party, and trade unions such as the Communications Workers of America, the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, and the Transport Workers Union of America. See the Printed Ephemera Research Guide for details.

Reference Sources

The reference collection in the Tamiment Library's reading room includes dictionaries, directories, encyclopedias, periodical guides and indexes, microfilm guides, bibliographies, microfilm reel guides, and biographical sources to support research in radical politics, labor history, and the other subjects we cover. These materials are cataloged in BobCat and are designated by the location "TAM REF" in the catalog record. The collection is browsable and researchers are encouraged to consult these highly useful sources for background information before delving into archival collections.

In addition to these print sources the Tamiment Library has several periodical indexes in card catalog format. Please see the separate listing of Periodical Indexes in the Tamiment Library for summary details.

Research Guides

Learn about tools and resources that will help you use the Tamiment Library's collections effectively on our Research Guides page. You will find collection lists, subject-specific research guides, links to databases, and other resources to help with your research.


There are roughly 10,000 non-current serials titles in the Tamiment Library, in print, in reprint editions, on microfilm, and on microfiche. The collection is not fully cataloged yet, so consult our Serials Research Guide for help using the collection.

Updated 04/30/2012
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