Washington University's collections of manuscripts contain a broad range of materials dating from the 2nd century BC through the present. The largest group of materials is the Modern Literature Collection with over a quarter of a million items in formats ranging from paper to electronic image. Several hundred papyri, manuscript books and fragments, St. Louis literary manuscripts, and several autograph collections round out the holdings.
The Manuscript Collections (MSS) are collections of personal papers related to an individual or family, or archival records related to an entity. Manuscript collections often include unpublished materials such as typescripts, photographs, diaries and scrapbooks. They may also include news clippings, printed works and other published materials collected by the creator.
The Vertical Manuscript Files (VMF) are individual items or small groups of items with historical significance related to an individual or entity.