Conducting Research

The McGovern Center welcomes you to research its rare book and historical collections. Whether you know exactly what you want or need reference assistance to narrow a broad research topic, the staff at the McGovern Historical Collections will facilitate access to available materials and resources.

All the materials found in the McGovern Historical Collections, including rare books, manuscripts, photos and artifacts, must be used in reading rooms under the supervision of staff during business hours. Materials cannot be checked out.

Materials Available for Research

Rare Books
The rare books are cataloged in The TMC Library’s online catalog. Medical Subject Headings are used for all the Library’s books. These are different from keywords or the Library of Congress’ Subject Headings. If you need help with finding particular subjects, we’ll be glad to help you.

If you’re interested in what makes a book rare, you may find: Your Old Books by the American Library Association helpful.

Many of our finding aids are available online. Unfortunately not all our archival collections are processed. Consult with an archivist about resources in your field that may be available for research.

If you are new to research in an archive, you may find: Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research by the Society of American Archivists useful.

Photo Collections
The McGovern Historical Collections has two photo collections. One collection is cataloged and can be searched using the library’s catalog. The second collection consists of several hundred photos related to the Houston area. Consult an archivist for information.

Reference Files
The McGovern Historical Collections has a small reference collection or vertical files about medical history. Most of the collection is devoted to Houston medical history.

Copyright and Use Policies

It is The TMC Library's policy to strictly comply with copyright laws. It is a violation of this policy for users to copy, duplicate, install, electronically forward, distribute or use copyrighted works including but not limited to software, images, data,...

Finding Aids

Below is the list of available finding aids. Complete lists for the Manuscript Collection and Institutional Papers are available.

Reading Room Rules

Sign In : Sign in when you enter the archive. The sign in book is on a podium near the door. Stow Your Bags : Inside the entrance to the HRC is a cabinet. Please stow your extra items, such as purses, bags, backpacks and coats. Clients are allowed...

Request Materials

Depending on the condition of the item, the McGovern Center will make digital images or photocopies of historical materials available to requesting clients.In some cases, the client may be permitted to take digital photographs on-site. This decision is...

Research Assistance

The staff of the McGovern Center are available to answer research questions, provide information on the availability of books or manuscript resources and consult on the best resources for your historical projects. Some consulting is available on the preservation...

Research Guides

Research guides provide an overview into the archive and special collections, centering on themes and various topics of interest. It’s a good place to start your research.