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FYS 100 - Raid the Collections / Barlow, Amy


This guide provides resources for finding information about individuals and subjects referenced in the Papers of Dr. Carl Russell Gross (Rhode Island College Special Collections, MSS.2). The guide contains a sample of local publications, such as the Providence Journal, and academic article databases, such as JSTOR, as well as genealogical tools, such as the Family Search database. 


Use the menu on the left to begin looking for information. The following list provides a basic overview of the types of information that you'll find in each category.


  • History + Biography - Find encyclopedias, biographies, and academic books and articles about individuals, organizations, occupations, and events.
  • Vital + Government Records - Find an individual's date of birth, place of residence, occupation, place of work, death certificate, etc. 
  • Historical Newspapers - Search for an individual's obituary and news stories about people or events of interest in the Providence Journal and New York Times historical databases. 
  • Rhode Island College History - Digitized college catalogs, yearbooks, student newspaper, etc. Might be useful for drawing connections between individuals and the college. 
  • Dr. Gross Collection -  Find other manuscripts produced by Dr. Gross and digitized by RIC Special Collections. You may discover that Dr. Gross wrote expanded timeline entries for individuals or organizations in other documents beyond Manuscript F. 
  • MLA and Chicago style guides - Helpful websites and links to style guides for formatting your citations in an academic style. 

Getting Started on Your Research

As a researcher and biographer, your first task is to establish basic facts about a person's life beyond what is provided in Dr. Gross's timeline entry. These facts must include:

  1. Place and date of birth
  2. Place and date of death
  3. Variant names (especially important for women)
  4. Occupation(s)
  5. Significant accomplishments


The best single source of this information is a newspaper obituary. Newspapers, however, did not write obituaries for all individuals. The New York Times recently addressed its historical exclusion of minorities and women from the obituary section by launching an obituary writing project called Overlooked.  In fact, Overlooked published an obituary for Sissieretta Jones. Take a look!


If you search in the New York Times and Providence Journal for an obituary and come up short, the next best place to look is Wikipedia and which is a tool for finding digitized vital records, like birth and death records. Look for under the Vital + Government Records page of this guide. 


REMEMBER: Like Dr. Gross, we are interested in an individual's connection to Rhode Island. While looking for information, seek out and pay close attention to sources that reveal something about a person's experience and accomplishments in RI.