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This LibGuide serves as a list of resources for those hoping to complete biographical research on students, alumni, faculty, or staff in the Department of Distinctive Collections. While some resources have been digitized and are available online or are available elsewhere in MIT Libraries, we strongly recommend visiting Distinctive Collections if you are conducting in-depth research. 

Visit Us!

The Distinctive Collections reading room is open Monday through Thursday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. 

Occasionally the reading room is closed for Institute holidays or because of classes or special events being held in the reading room. Exceptions to the hours are updated and posted on the home page of our website.
The reading room is located in building 14N, room 118 at 160 Memorial Drive, Cambridge.

The MIT Social Beaver 1960

The MIT Social Beaver 1960

The MIT Social Beaver 1960, T171.M42.S678 1960

Use of Materials in Reading Room

If you would like to visit to use our materials, we recommend you contact us at least two business days in advance of a visit to let us know which resources (collections, publications, books, etc.) you would like to consult so that we can retrieve them from off-site storage. The contents may need to be reviewed in advance of your use because of MIT access policies, donor restrictions, and/or physical condition, so we recommend contacting us at your earliest convenience.

More specifically, when consulting collections we can only store up to 15 boxes per day per researcher due to space constraints. Please prioritize the order in which you would like to examine boxes so that we can be as responsive as possible. We will retrieve boxes from off-site storage as you finish using others.

Researchers may use personal digital cameras or smart phones for research purposes in the Distinctive Collections Reading Room to capture images of the materials they are examining. Staff at the reference desk will explain the procedures and the form for using a digital camera or smart phone.


Map of MIT, 1958

Map of MIT from Social Beaver 1958

Map of MIT from 1958 Social Beaver Handbook, T171.M42.S678 1958

Worksheet for Biographical Research

Ask Distinctive Collections!

For inquiries about sources or other questions, please contact Ask Distinctive Collections!