DeGolyer Library

Boats on the water in Shanghai, China; 1936-1937

Reference Services

Boats on the Water
Sir Victor Sassoon, ca. 1936

Introduction to Special Collections

Special collections can seem a bit intimidating with all of the rules, regulations, and formalities, but we welcome researchers. Our frequently asked questions page answers many questions, but our staff will also guide you through the process of registration, reading room policies, how to request materials, and how to handle our materials. Contact us at to set up an appointment.


Scheduling a reference interview

DeGolyer Library is dedicated to enhancing scholarship and providing support and instruction to all SMU students, faculty, visiting scholars, and other researchers. Our staff meets one on one with individuals to discuss research projects and regularly hosts classes tailored to specific courses. Contact us at to set up an appointment or discuss a class visit.


Guides and Finding Aids

Many of our manuscript and photograph collections have guides or finding aids to help you with your research. A link to the finding aid can be found in the library catalog record, or you can find the entire list of finding aids at Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO).


Remote Research Assistance 

To request reference services, email us at and include the following:

  • The question you are researching and as much information/context you can give with names, places, dates, etc.
  • DeGolyer Library collections or materials related to your topic
  • Your name, affiliation, email, mailing address, and telephone number

There is no charge for the initial search, but fees apply to scans or photocopies requested. You will be contacted regarding the search results. If materials are located and you wish to obtain scans or copies, the fees will be calculated, you will receive an invoice, and prepayment is required before reproductions will be made. Additional fees may be required for commercial purposes. Some materials in our collections cannot be reproduced due to donor restrictions or preservation issues.

Depending on the complexity of the request and the amount of time necessary to thoroughly investigate your topic, you may need to hire a researcher. Should you need assistance, contact us for a list of approved researchers.

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