1. Harry S. Truman
  2. Library Collections
  3. Researching Our Holdings

Researching Our Holdings


The holdings of the Harry S. Truman Library are available to all researchers on an equal basis.

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Finding aids for collections in the Truman Library’s holdings are available online:

Finding aids for manuscript collections provide folder titles that were assigned by the originator of the files or provided by the archives staff. Audiovisual collections, unlike the library's manuscript collections, are controlled on the item-level using indexes arranged by subject, date, and/or accession number.


Anyone may conduct research at the Truman Library, provided that:

  1. There are materials on your topic among Truman Library holdings. If you are better served by visiting another institution, we will refer you there.

  2. You are at least 14 years old or accompanied by an adult.

The Research Room is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. It is closed on Saturday, Sunday, and all federal holidays.

We require that onsite researchers consult with staff and schedule an appointment prior to their visit by emailing Please contact us at least two business days before you would like to visit. Do not make travel arrangements to the Truman Library until you have confirmation of your requested appointment.

Every new researcher must complete the researcher orientation, which takes approximately ten minutes to complete. This orientation acquaints researchers with the rules and procedures of the Research Room and lets them know what to expect during their research visit.

Arriving for research at the Truman Library:

  • Researchers should park in the Research/Administration parking lot and enter the building through the North Lobby.

  • All visitors to the Research Room must provide photo identification, such as a driver’s license or passport, to the security guard on duty.

  • New researchers who have not already completed the virtual researcher orientation and presented their certificate of completion to staff must do so prior to conducting research. New researchers must also submit a researcher application.

  • Staff will issue a researcher card to any new researcher, which is valid for one year.

Important rules and information for the Research Room:

  • By signing the researcher application and completing the researcher orientation, you agree to follow Research Room rules and handle all materials from our collections with care. Your adherence to our rules and procedures will help Truman Library staff serve all researchers who wish to access our collections.

  • Pull times are from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Before staff can pull materials, researchers will need to use finding aids to identify textual collections and box numbers relevant to their research, or accession numbers in the case of audiovisual materials. Researchers may request no more than 15 boxes at one time. Staff cannot accept pull requests in advance of a researcher’s arrival.

  • Staff will not serve boxes in the Research Room that have been fully digitized. Please refer to the links to digital content in our finding aids for these materials.

  • Researchers may only bring pencils, laptop computers, digital cameras, and flatbed scanners into the room; lockers are available for other belongings. Note paper is also available in the Research Room. When entering and leaving the Research Room, researchers must present any materials they are carrying to the Research Room monitor or the guard for inspection. Researchers may not take any outerwear with them into the Research Room.

  • Visitors may not eat, drink, chew gum, smoke, or use smokeless tobacco products, and state and federal regulations prohibit smoking in the building. Visitors may use a break room onsite, which has a refrigerator, microwave, and vending machine.

Reproduction options in the Research Room:

  • Researchers may use digital cameras, cell phone cameras, and tablet cameras as long as the flash is off. Flatbed and overhead scanners are permitted, but automatic feed scanners are not. Hand-held scanners that come into contact with documents are also not permitted. The use of desktop tripods and other camera stands is permitted, provided they do not rest on the documents. There are no restrictions for laptop computers.

  • If researchers will need to scan while onsite, they must plan to provide their own equipment.


Staff accept email, mail, or telephone requests for easily identifiable items and can make reproductions on the requestor's behalf. Typically, staff will scan the entire contents of given files or folders; in some instances, staff may be able to accommodate researchers who require only a specific document. Staff generally cannot identify for researchers everything at the Library that relates to a given topic. Audiovisual archives staff are usually able to answer requests for specific photographs, sound recordings, and motion pictures, as well as general inquiries for audiovisual materials based on a specified subject or type.

To order reproductions, please email archives staff at or call 816-268-8272.

Please consult our fee schedule below for reproduction costs:

Self-service photocopies in Research Room

$0.25 per page

Staff-made digital photocopies (limit 500)

$0.80 per page

High-resolution document scan


High-resolution photograph scan


Standard-definition digital video


High-definition digital video (pre-existing)


Digital sound recording


Reproduction services for textual collections are available at fees set by the National Archives and Records Administration. Due to limited staffing, we cannot accommodate reproduction orders over 500 pages. If materials requested exceed 500 pages, you may schedule a research visit or hire an independent researcher to conduct research and scan materials on your behalf. Information about independent researchers specializing in Truman-era materials is available here.

Patrons may order photograph scans directly through our website via the “Order This Image” option that accompanies each photograph record. Copies of motion pictures not already digitized will incur additional costs.


A small portion of the library's manuscript collection, less than 1 percent of the total volume, is restricted and not open for research. These restrictions are required by federal law and regulation or by the provisions of the deeds of gift of the donors of the manuscripts. Most restricted documents contain either national security information or sensitive information, the release of which could injure, embarrass, or harass a living person or the living family members of a deceased person. Researchers have a right to access documents in the Library’s custody or to learn in specific instances why certain documents must remain temporarily closed. Researchers also have the right to appeal the restriction of any document in the Library's holdings; staff will discuss these appeal rights upon request.


President Truman and the majority of the library's donors have donated their copyright interest in their papers and other historical materials to the U.S. government. Materials for which copyrights have not specifically been donated may still be subject to copyright and must be used according to the provisions of Title 17 of the U.S. Code. It is ultimately the responsibility of the researcher to use copyrighted materials properly. Staff generally cannot answer questions regarding the use of copyrighted materials, unless the materials in question are clearly in the public domain. For more specific information about copyright, please see this statement.


Citations should identify items clearly within the context of their collections. Because folders and boxes can change over time, box numbers should not be used. The preferred format of citation for textual documents is to identify elements in ascending order, from the more granular to the broader pieces of information. For example, a document citation should include the following information in this order:

  • Title or type of document (including correspondents, author, etc.), with date, if applicable;

  • Title of folder (according to the finding aid) in which the document is located;

  • Series (and subseries, if applicable) in which the folder is located;

  • Collection;

  • Ending with reference to the Harry S. Truman Library.

Please consult the following sample citations:

  • Documents:

    • Harry S. Truman to Luther C. Steward, April 19, 1945; “PPF 206” folder, White House Central Files: President's Personal File, Truman Papers, Harry S. Truman Library.

    • Report, "Wartime Exile: The Exclusion of the Japanese Americans From the West Coast," 1946; “1943-1946-War Relocation Authority, Memoranda and Reports [2 of 2]” folder, Dillon S. Myer Papers, Harry S. Truman Library.

  • Oral history interviews: Oral history interview, E. Allan Lightner, Jr., October 26, 1973, p. 51, Harry S. Truman Library.

  • Photographs: Photograph, 63-1499-01, “Portrait of Senator Harry S. Truman,” April 21, 1944, Yousuf Karsh, Harry S. Truman Library.

  • Films: Film, MP76-53, "United States Elects President Truman," 1948, United States Information Service, Harry S. Truman Library.

  • Sound recordings: Sound recording, SR61-37, "Radio report to the American people on the Potsdam Conference," August 9, 1945, Columbia Broadcasting System, Harry S. Truman Library.

Content last reviewed: May 9, 2024