Searching the Biggert Collection of Architectural Vignettes on Commercial Stationery

The Biggert Collection of Architectural Vignettes on Commercial Stationery supports simple and complex searching. At the top of each page, a simplified search box allows for searching by terms in the collection, as well as Boolean operators.

Boolean Operators

Using AND, OR, and NOT to refine your search

The operator AND narrows your search by instructing the search engine to search only for records containing all the terms in your search. You do not have to type in the word AND; by default all terms entered into the search box become Boolean AND searches. However, you can adjust your search by doing an OR search (broadens the search to include records containing any or all of the terms) or a NOT search (narrows your search by excluding unwanted terms). You do not have to enter the Boolean operators in capitals. To search for an exact phrase put quotation marks around your search terms.


  • railroad companies
    Searches for the word "railroad" and the word "companies" in all fields
  • railroad AND companies
    Searches for the word "railroad" and the word "companies" in all fields. Equivalent to railroad companies.
  • cumberland OR mills
    Searches for either "cumberland" OR "mills," or both, in all fields.
  • cumberland NOT mills
    Searches for the word "cumberland" AND NOT the word "mills" in all fields.
  • "cumberland mills"
    Search for the exact phrase "cumberland mills" in all fields.

Advanced Fields and the "Limit Search to:" option

Perform an advanced fields search by selecting "Advanced Search >" on the home page, or by selecting "Advanced Search" from the "Places & People" drop-down menu. You can combine fields and choose the number of results and sort order, as well as search for call number.


  • City: search for words within the "city" field. This is case-insensitive; A search for Albany or albany will yield identical results.
  • Company: search for words within the "company" field, including abbreviations.
  • State: search for the abbreviation or full name of a state.
  • Medium: search for a specific type of object, such as check, bill, or letter.

To search in a given field, check the relevant box. You can combine fields in your query. For example, to search for both a company with the word "Albany" in both its name and city, type Albany in the search box, and check off the "city" and "company" boxes. Note that this search is an "OR" search -- it will find items that have the word "albany" in either the city OR company fields. Use Limit Results to restrict your search after submitting it.

Limit Results

On the right-hand side of your search results screen, under the heading "Limit Results," you will see a detailed overviews about your search results organized by category: city, state, company, and medium. You can use this section to browse links in a particular category or select a link to refine your search results.

For example, an advanced search for rochester as a company or city returns a search results page with 8 hits. From that search results page, under Limit Results you can browse the list of companies or select the state "Minnesota" to narrow your results.


You can use the asterisk (*) symbol as a wildcard to substitute for one or more characters at the end of a word. Note that this symbol cannot be used at the beginning of a word. For example, ala* will find terms that contain either "Alabama" or "Alaska."