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About WashU Archives

This guide will help you navigate University Archives' more than 300 unique collections, most of which document the history of Washington University from 1853 to today. Other collections are related to 20th century St. Louis history.

About Archive Collections

The Department of Special Collections is open to all members of the University community: undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff; as well as to outside researchers.

Washington University Archives supports scholarship in many academic fields by preserving and providing access to over 300 unique collections that chronicle the history of Washington University from 1853 to today.

The collections contain a wealth of primary sources and other historical materials that include manuscripts, photographic prints and negatives, books, film, sound recordings, microfilm, architectural plans, and artifacts. 

Most collections chronicle the history of Washington University from 1853 to the present day.  These collections include papers and artifacts relating to student, faculty, and administrative life, such as:

  • student produced publications such as the student newspaper Student Life  (1878-present) and The Hatchet yearbook (1903-2011)

  • professional & personal papers of faculty members such as Arthur Holly Compton

  • early documents from the University's founding, including the papers of  Rev. William Greenleaf Eliot


Also archived are Local History collections, which focus on late 19th and 20th century topics of St. Louis and the surrounding area (city, near-by counties, and metro-east Illinois)

Collections with the area of local history are mainly focused on themes of:

  • business archives

  • transportation & urban planning

  • political records

  • social welfare & social justice

  • architecture


University Archives and Local History Archives are part of the Washington University Library System, Department of Special Collections.


Physical Location:
Danforth Campus
Olin Library - 1st floor
Department of Special Collections


Our mailing address:
Washington University Archives
Olin Library
One Brookings Drive, Campus Box 1061
St. Louis, MO 63130