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Research Guides

Photo of Seattle waterfront ca. 1900-1910

Seattle waterfront ca. 1900-1910. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Welcome to the library research guide for HSTAA 208 The City. This page brings together many of the sources that you will need to use for your site reports along with some explanatory information on various types of primary sources. Researching local history on the scale of a city block can be challenging, you will need to be creative in both finding and using sources.

Most of the material dealing with Seattle will be in Special Collections (basement Allen Library South). Many of the sources listed in this guide are located there. Keep in mind that they are closed on the weekend and have shorter opening hours during the week. Librarians there will be able to help you find additional material on local places.

The guide is organized by steps organized by the type of information source:

  1. Starting Points on neighborhoods, buildings & general Seattle, American & urban history
  2. Finding books & journal articles on the various neighborhoods and Seattle (mostly secondary sources but some primary)
  3. Finding newspaper articles
  4. Finding photographs 
  5. Finding maps & city directories
  6. Finding census & population data
  7. Finding manuscript collections 


Keep in mind that some blocks (those with significant buildings or parks) will be easier to research than others and that you may not find all the various types of sources for your specific block. 

Some of the databases on this page are restricted to UW students, staff and faculty. These are marked with a lock UW Restricted. You may be asked to login with your UWnetid. Additional resources can be found on the American History subject guide and on the Environment subject guide.

Have questions or need research help? Please contact Theresa Mudrock, the history librarian, via email at and Anne Jenner, the Pacific Northwest curator, via email at

History Librarian

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Theresa Mudrock
Suzzallo Library 136

Pacific Northwest Curator

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Anne Jenner
Special Collections
Allen Library South, Lower level
(206) 685-2856

Special Collections

Special Collections is the UW Libraries' major resource for rare and archival materials covering a broad range of topics, formats, and periods. The Special Collections reading room, located on the lower level of Allen Library South, is open to the public on weekdays

Major collecting areas are overseen by curators/archivists.

Pacific Northwest Collections
University of Washington Archives
‚ÄčLabor Archives of Washington
Washington State Jewish Archives
Book  Arts & Rare Books
Digital Collections
Historical Visual Materials
History of Science and Medicine

Library Research Award

Image for Library Research Award for Undergraduates

Check the Awards page for more information and the application form.

Citation Guide

Historian's generally use the Chicago style format for footnotes/endnotes and bibliography.  This one page guide provides examples for the most common type of sources.  See the Citations and Writing page for more guides and information.