Vertical File Catalog
What are vertical files?
They are called “vertical files” because they are stored in filing cabinets upright.
Too small to be one of our boxed collections, each file may contain a variety of materials on paper such as newspaper and magazine articles, brochures and pamphlets, manuscripts and typed research papers, reminiscences, fliers and event programs, photo scans, correspondence, land deeds, wills, and many other items.
A file may contain one document or many; larger files may have an inventory list.
Vertical files are organized by file name – which might be an individual or family, an organization, a business, a governmental unit, an event, a publication name, a general category such as “hats” or “horse racing” or other categories.
How can I search?
After opening the spreadsheet on a desktop or laptop, use CTRL + f (Find):
Press CTRL (CMD on Mac). While holding down the CTRL key, also press the “ f ” key
Then, a small box will appear at the top or bottom of your internet browser.
In the box, type the word or number you are looking for
Press enter until you search through the whole document
On mobile devices:
Tap the three dots in the upper corner and select “find.” Use the arrows or magnifying glass to see all the words that match in the document.
Search both singular & plural forms: ex: woman & women; nursery & nurseries
Search both noun & adjective forms: ex: politics & political
Search both surname, forename & forename surname formats. We use “surname, forename” in our subjects but sometimes the “forename surname” format appears in the folder name or description.
ex: Search both Lincoln, Abraham & Abraham Lincoln
The search function ignores capitalization unless you specify “match case.”
Contact library staff.
If a file has an inventory (“Inv”), you may request an electronic copy here.
Frequently used abbreviations
TS = typescript (generated via typewriter or word processor such as Microsoft Word)
MS = manuscript (i.e., handwritten)
nd = no date
B-N = Bloomington-Normal
Blm = Bloomington
MC = McLean County
MCGS = McLean County Genealogy Society
MCMH = McLean County Museum of History
Museum = McLean County Museum of History
matl = material(s)
bldg = building
news = newspaper
c = circa, when used preceding a year as in "c1950"
misc = miscellaneous
corr = correspondence
Inv = Indicates inventory of folder contents is available upon request
twp = township
bio = biography
Chgo = Chicago
obit = obituary, often from a newspaper
NYC = New York City
anon = unknown author
ISU = Illinois State University
ISNU = Illinois State Normal University
IWU = Illinois Wesleyan University
dau = daughter
bro = brother
City directories = Blm or Blm-Normal unless otherwise stated
M/M = Mr & Mrs
re = regarding
photocopy = includes mimeographed, electrostatic, etc copies