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ENGL 491: Composition Theory and Practice - Archival research

An introduction to resources in special collections and archives of use when researching historical trends in teaching rhetoric and composition.

Explore digital archives

Using the information in this guide, explore the digital archival and library resources available and answer the following questions.


  1. Choose one of the digital repositories from this guide or another one that you're familiar with. Which digital repository did you choose? Why?
  2. Look at the items and materials available in the repository. Choose one or two that you think would be interesting for your research. Can you access a digital reproduction of the item(s)?
    • If not, how would you go about getting access to the item(s) based on what you learned today? Always remember that you can ask a CMU librarian for assistance in these situations.
  3. What details or information in the item(s) might improve your understanding of the history of composition pedagogy?
  4. What information do you wish was present in the item(s) to better understand how composition was taught?
  5. What other primary sources do you think might be helpful to better inform your research?