New GeneaGem: CARLI Digital Collections

A couple of weeks ago, I introduced the Edward E. Ayer digital Collection, housed at the Newberry Library, as a new GeneaGem.

I also mentioned CARLI as a post for another day. Well, that day is today. First, what is CARLI? I had to look it up. It’s the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois, hence CARLI.

Before you write this off, thinking you have no ties to Illinois, keep in mind that most library and university collections housed in a given state often include items of interest from other locations.

First, there are several ways CARLI can be searched. Notice, first, that in the top right corner, there is an Advanced Search box, so if you know what you’re looking for, there is a quick way to get there.

However, to browse CARLI, look at the small box on the bottom left. Collections can be searched by NAME, TOPIC, MEDIA and/or by INSTITUTION. There is one more way to browse. In the top left corner, next to the CARLI Home button is a link to ALL COLLECTIONS. While All Collections looks promising, it actually opens to a not-so-easy-to-navigate screen:

Instead, choose BY NAME, which opens a list of 356 collections in CARLI.

Although 356 list items is a lot, it’s a great way for a first time visitor to learn more about the digital resources to be found.

Yes, many items in CARLI do pertain to Illinois, but there are some interesting and unusual collections, too, that pertain to American history and a wider audience. Here are some examples:

  1. All Souls NYC Records
  2. American Civil War Collection
  3. American Union of Swedish Singers
  4. Black Empowerment Collection
  5. Canal Corridor Postcards
  6. Century of Progress World’s Fair, 1933-1934
  7. Chicago and the Midwest
  8. Curt Teich Postcard Archives Digital Collection
  9. EBR African American Cultural Life
  10. Frisk Collection of Alaska Mission Journals
  11. H.D. Carberry Caribbean Studies Collection
  12. Helen B. Morrison Photographs of Kentucky African Americans
  13. Japanese-American Redress Collection
  14. New York League of Unitarian Women
  15. Railroads in the Midwest, Early Documents and Images
  16. Swedish-American Historical Quarterly
  17. The Methodist Manuscripts Collection
  18. The Papers of J.H. Rowell
  19. William R. Townsend Civil War Diary
  20. World War II Correspondence

While genealogically oriented libraries provide resources to identify our ancestors, academic libraries house collections that give us social and cultural content that enriches our family histories.

Those with ancestral connections to Illinois definitely need to take the time to browse CARLI. However, those lacking Illinois roots might also find that some of CARLI’s collections add to knowledge of their ancestors’ lives, too.

One thought on “New GeneaGem: CARLI Digital Collections”

  1. I’ve already found a number of family history gems using IRAD. Now I must add CARLI to my list. Thank you! (Yes, I do have Illinois connections in my family, on my father’s side.)

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