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English 2200: British Travel Writing in Special Collections: Home

A guide for students in Alison Rutledge's English 2200 class on British Travel Writing for an assignment using Special Collections materials.

Collections of Interest

For the purposes of this assignment, most of the materials that may interest you will be in the Rare Book Collection or the Closed Collection

These materials are catalogued, and you can find them through the MERLIN library catalog.

How to Search Special Collections in MERLIN

Did you know the MERLIN library catalog will let you limit your search to Special Collections?  Here's how to do it.

Get set up to search

Starting from the main MERLIN screen, click on the Advanced tab.

Advanced search tab

On the Advanced Search page, enter your keywords at the top.  You can use the dropdown menu to search within Author, Title, or Subject (Table of Contents and Notes are not advised for Special Collections materials).  Or you can leave it open to search all available fields.

Keyword search

Limit your results

Scroll down to Add Limits.  Under Specific Library Location, choose MU Ellis Special Coll.

Limit to Special Collections

You can use additional limits such as language or year of publication.  Because Special Collections holdings include lots of microfilms, it's useful to limit by Material Type

Limit by material type

Hold down the CTRL key to make multiple selections.  Some useful limits include:

  • Looking for books, pamphlets, journals, etc.?  Limit to Books and Journals/Newspapers.
  • Posters - limit to Images
  • Maps - limit to Maps
  • Microfilm, microfiche, etc - limit to Microforms

Keywords to search for

Check out these MERLIN searches - and be sure to see more about how to search MERLIN in the box to the right.


This is a very broad search that includes a wide variety of accounts, journals, correspondence, and other types of travel literature.

You can easily refine this search.  Click on the Modify Search button at the top of the results screen.

Modify search

Put your additional search terms into the second box (and possibly the third, if you have more than one).

Refine search

Other Search Terms to Try

  • Voyages
    • A subgenre that consists mainly of accounts of sea voyages, or very long journeys overland.
  • Guidebooks
    • Advice for the traveler and guides to the sights in various places.
  • Women Travelers
    • Search terms: keyword: (wom?n OR lad*) AND travel*), with limits to Special Collections.


Kelli Hansen's picture
Kelli Hansen
401 Ellis Library
(573) 882-3755

Visiting Special Collections

Special Collections materials can be used in the Reading Room on 4 West, Ellis Library.  You'll be asked to fill out a small form for each item you'd like to see.

You can have a pencil, paper, a computer and a camera with you at the reading tables.  You'll be asked to store your backpack and coat elsewhere.

Bring a photo ID!  Your MU student ID or a driver's license will be fine.

Most materials cannot be checked out, but you can put them on hold in the Reading Room.

You can take pictures with your phone or a camera.  But remember - no flash!  If you have Special Collections staff make photos or scans for you, the cost is 50 cents per image.

More information on using Special Collections