Prepared by Elisabeth Lindsay.
The so-called vertical file is a collection of resource materials such as clippings, pamphlets, and other ephemera on subjects of interest to a particular library, archive, or historical society. The term "vertical file" refers to the standing metal file cabinets commonly used for storage -- a library may one or several vertical files in their collection. Vertical files may include information on individuals, organizations, and institutions relevant to a community. Vertical file contents are typically not catalogued and must be searched manually on-site at the library; however, some repositories have created a vertical file subject index that may be available in print or online.
The average genealogy researcher may be unaware of library (and archive) vertical files and their potential value. Certainly not every individual in a community is represented in a vertical file, but If an ancestor was prominent, owned a local business. or was associated local events, institutions, or people of note, it's possible they may be found in the vertical file. For more information on the value of vertical files see the GenWeekly article, "Vertically challenged? No! ($)".