University Archives Collection

I. Collection Description


To comply with provisions of Article V, Section 4, of the General Rules Concerning University Organization and Procedure, the Archives is responsible for the appraisal, acquisition, description, storage and servicing of University of Illinois official records, publications and the personal papers of faculty, staff, students and alumni. The Archives provides University and visiting researchers with archival and manuscript materials for research and curricular needs. As a research office concerned with higher education, the University of Illinois Archives makes a special effort to document the institution's development. Non-university manuscript collections of major research significance are also acquired. The archives includes all forms and types of documentation.

History of Collection:

Interest in an archival program for the University of Illinois dates from the 1920s, when faculty and administrators noted the need for an archives. The first full-time archivist was hired in September, 1963. Records, which had been sent to the University Library or stored in offices, attics and basements of other campus buildings, were gradually transferred to the Archives for appraisal, arrangement and description.

Estimate of Holdings:

13,464 cubic feet on July 1, 1986.

State, Regional and National Importance:

The University of Illinois Archives holds the largest academic archives and historical manuscripts collection in Illinois and is among the leading academic archives in the United States. For those whose research needs lead them to other regions, states or countries, the Archives has an extensive collection of guides and information on archival and manuscript holdings at American and European repositories.

The Archives' holdings of official records are particularly strong for the Board of Trustees, President, Chancellor, Business Affairs, Legal Counsel, Student Affairs, the colleges of Agriculture, Engineering, and Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science.

Its strengths in holdings of personal papers include: alumni Lorado Taft, Avery Brundage and Stewart Howe; agriculturalist Eugene Davenport; home economist Isabel Bevier; educators Max Beberman and Harry Broudy; electrical engineer Joseph Tykociner; physicists Frederick Seitz and John Bardeen; architect Nathan Ricker; anthropologists Julian Steward, Oscar Lewis and Joseph Casagrande; botanist William Trelease; chemists William Noyes and Roger Adams; literary scholars Stuart Sherman and Kerker Quinn; parasitologist Henry Ward; ecologist Victor Shelford; coaches Robert Zuppke and Raymond Eliot; Russian studies administrator Philip Mosely; and physical fitness advocate Thomas Cureton.

Among the important association archives are those of the American Library Association, American Association of Law Libraries, American Society for Quality Control, Argonne Universities Association, Council for Basic Education, National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges, National Council of Teachers of English, Advertising Council, and Progressive Education Association.

Unit Responsible for Collecting:

The University Archives is the repository for University of Illinois archival and related manuscript materials.

Location of Materials

Locations of Archive Materials
Location Number of Boxes
Library 6,155
Attic 106
Basement Corridor 646
Library Stacks 15
Child Development 3,272
Commerce West 1,532
Law 68E 1,258
Space Assigned to Others:
Band Building 102
Law Library 65
Music Library 169
Total Number of Boxes 13,464

Citations of Works Describing the Collection:

Brichford, Maynard, "The Illiarch," Illinois Libraries 52:2 (February 1970): 182-204.

Brichford, Maynard, Robert Sutton, Dennis Walle, Manuscripts Guide to Collections at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1976.

Brichford, Maynard, comp., Avery Brundage Collection. Schorndorf bei Stuttgart: Karl Hoffman, 1977.

Brichford, Maynard and Ann Gilliland comps., Guide to the American Library Association Archives Chicago: American Library Association, 1987.

Brichford, Maynard and William Maher, comps., Guide to the University Archives. Urbana: Library, 1986.

Maher, William, "The Illini Archives; a laboratory for retrospective research," Illinois Libraries 63 (March 1981): 269-274.

Maher, William and Maynard Brichford, "University Archives, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign," Institutional Spotlight, MAC Newsletter 11:2 (October, 1983): 17-18.

II. General Collection Guidelines


Collecting decisions are not made according to language. The Archives are primarily in English, although there are substantial volumes of Spanish and Russian materials.

Chronological Guidelines:

No restrictions.

Geographical Guidelines:

No restrictions.

Treatment of Subject:

The Archives holds materials to meet long and short term research needs on subjects of interest to University of Illinois faculty, staff and students.

Types of Materials:

The Archives' holdings are divided into official records, publications and personal papers. The information may be in publications, photographs, artifacts, maps, plans, drawings, sound recordings, videotapes, motion pictures or data tapes.

Date of Material:

No restrictions.

Place of Material's Origins:

There are no restrictions, but most of the material came from employees of the University of Illinois.


Our collection responsibility is based on the definition of University records in the General Rules Concerning University Organization and Procedure, Article V, Section 4, Paragraph B: "Records produced or received by any agency or employee of the University of the transaction of University business become University property." Records are defined as: "all documents, correspondence, accounts, files, manuscripts, publications, photographs, tapes, drawings or other material bearing upon the activities and functions of the University or its officers and employees." Article V, Section 4, paragraph "a" states that the Archives "also includes professional and personal manuscripts of members of the academic and administrative staffs and records of faculty and student organizations that may be given to the University for preservation and use." The collection of manuscripts not specifically related to the University of Illinois is focused on areas which are:

  1. Logical extensions of the research strengths, interests and needs of the University faculty.
  2. In areas that anticipate future research needs
  4. In fields where the Library has extensive holdings of published materials.
  6. Where there is a high ratio of use to volume and processing costs.
  8. Not in direct competition with a major collector in this region.

Within the limitations of its staff and space, the University Archives will accept manuscripts and archival materials which have sufficient value to the teaching, research and service missions of the University to justify the costs of acquisition, Processing and retention.

All manuscripts and archival material collected by university staff and employees through the expenditure of university funds or in the performance of university duties shall become university property and, upon receipt, be forwarded to the University Archivist for accessioning and delivery to the permanent custodian.

The Archives is most useful for modern American intellectual, cultural and social history. It contains research material for the educator, political scientist, sociologist, economist, and journalist. It is especially strong in the history of science and technology, agriculture, architecture, advertising, librarianship and education.

Version Date: November 2005