MESDA Subject Database Help

 Be patient for search results to appear. Depending on your Internet connection, it can take upwards of a minute for some searches to complete.


New Subject Records: As MESDA research associates identify new material of interest, that information will appear as a digital record. New records that are digitally born will not have index card images associated with them.



•  Use your internet browser’s “Print” function (usually found under the “File” menu item) to print pages. If you have a PDF creator or virtual printer installed on your computer you can “Print” to your search results to a PDF document.

•  To save a an image, right click on the image and select the “Save Image As” option. Then save the .jpg image file to your computer.



•  When you enter search terms in this field you will search all words in all the records in the database.

•  To search for a phrase, do not enter the word inside quotes (i.e., slave badge not “slave badge”)



•  See the Subject Database Index for category headings).

•  Searching by Headings is similar to using the analog Subject Database index cards.



• There are racial terms used in the MESDA Subject Database that are now understood to be offensive, displaying insensitivity and ignorance. Such terms are in constant evolution and what is in common use at a particular time may be seen to be unacceptable at another point in time.

• Due to the historical nature of the Subject Database, direct quotes from the eighteenth and nineteenth century will often include words that are today considered inflammatory. Such words are used only as a direct quote from a period document.

• A more difficult situation is the use of the term “negro” as a category heading in the Subject Database. The term “negro” is inappropriate in the twenty-first century but was common parlance in the 1960s and 1970s when the Subject Database was begun. As such, the category headings have been updated to reflect today’s accepted and appropriate term (African American) but researchers should understand that the images of the card records will include the dated and no longer acceptable term “negro.” The same solution has been applied to the term “Indian”—the Subject Database category headings have been updated to reflect today’s accepted term “American Indian” but the card images will include the less sensitive “Indian.”



If you have questions or want to request further information about our research holdings, please contact the MESDA Research Center at or call 336-721-7379.