Last week the IHR Library welcomed a group of final year undergraduate students from Kings College London for a tour of the Library and an introduction to the collections. The students were all researching North American history, with most currently undertaking dissertation projects surrounding the American Revolution. Therefore, the North American Collections Library was booked for the group in order to allow for an extensive tour of the North American collections and a subsequent discussion of the remit and scope of the collections.

Collection Librarian Michael Townsend providing an introduction to the classmark arrangement of the North American collections


Following this introductory overview, each student discussed their personal research topic with relevant source materials in the IHR Library’s collections suggested by both our Collection Librarian, Michael Townsend and KCL Teaching Fellow in North American History, Dr Angel-Luke O’Donnell.

Items of interest and significance were also brought down from the IHR’s onsite store ahead of the visit in order for the students to engage fully with the collection and to allow them access to a selection of the Library’s rarer holdings.

Examples included The George Washington Atlas: a collection of eighty-five maps including twenty-eight made by George Washington, seven used and annotated by him and eight made at his direction and Exploring with Lewis and Clark: the 1804 journal of Charles Floyd. William Wirt Henry’s, Patrick Henry: life, correspondence and speeches was also made available from the Library’s Special Collections.

Tower Rock, by Karl Bodmer in Lewis and Clark’s Expedition Journal

George Washington’s sketch map of the country he traversed in 1753-4

Dr Angel-Luke O’Donnell suggesting sources in the IHR collections for students to use during their dissertation research

To round off the visit, the group were afforded the opportunity to browse the shelves and ask library staff any remaining queries. We wish all the students well with their respective research projects and hope to see them all back using the Library’s extensive North American holdings in the near future!

For more information on the Library’s North American collections please consult the collections guide for United States History in the Institute of Historical Research Library.

In addition, information on locating and researching North American resources across London is available on the dedicated North American section of the History Collections Blog.

Tours of the Library are available for groups of any size and can encompass a general introduction to the Library or focus upon a specific area of the collections to suit research interests and needs. Please contact the library with any queries or to arrange a tour:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7862 8760         Email: