As is known, archives and special collections hold various types of predominantly unpublished materials—this is one of the key features that differentiate these institutions from libraries which typically preserve and hold printed materials.

Rebuses are interesting for a number of reasons but among other things for their unique quality of being created in various media. Rebuses can be included as in a correspondence—or, in fact, can be sent as a regular mail—prepared on a separate sheet of paper, or even printed in a newspaper or journal. Hence it is natural that one of the first places to look for rebuses, especially those which are not published yet, are in archives and special collections.

While working on this project, a great deal of preliminary research was conducted by consulting such online options as ArchiveGrid and Worldcat. Thanks to information received there, it was possible to locate a number of archives and special collections in the United States as well as elsewhere in the world that preserve collections containing rebuses. Since this is a very special time for all, including the archives and special collections, it was not possible to personally visit those places. This field otherwise remains undiscovered fully and might be studied later in the future.

Therefore, the preliminary collection of rebuses presented on this website fully relies on the finds in digital online collections. Of special note here is such a digital repository as the Digital Public Library of America. A number of institutions have their own large digital online collections and this project benefited greatly from resources held at the following institutions: the Library of Congress, the digital collection at the New York Public Library, and many other collections.

A sample of digital online collections used by readingrebus.com.
A sample of digital online collections used by readingrebus.com.

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