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Denison University Archives  

The University Archives documents and preserves the history of Denison University.
Last Updated: Dec 8, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Curriculum Use

Materials in the University Archives have been used for a number of class or individual assignments, as well as for Summer Scholar projects.  The following departments/programs may find the archives especially useful for research:

  • Black Studies
  • Communication
  • History
  • English & Creative Writing
  • Sociology/Anthropology
  • First Year Studies
  • Women's Studies
  • Physical Education

Searching for Archival Materials

Most archival materials are not cataloged, and are located on the 7th floor, a closed access floor of the library.  Please contact the archivist, who will assist you in locating archival information.  Materials must be used in the Archives Reading Room, under supervison of the archivist.


Archives Collection Development Policy

The archives acquires material produced by the university, such as university histories; yearbooks and other publications; records of academic departments, administrative offices, and campus organizations; and posters, brochures, programs and other items related to campus life.

Material related to the university is acquired selectively.  This includes the papers of retired faculty and former presidents; biographical information about Denison alumni and personnel; and papers of individual alumni.

Records and papers are selected according to their administrative and/or research value.  Records come in many formats: paper, digital, photographic prints, sound recordings, objects, films, and more. 

The archives does not accept materials that are not related to Denison University history.


Welcome to the Archives

Explore the rich history of Denison University through historic documents, photographs, objects, audio-visual materials, and more.  The mission of the University Archives is to select, preserve and make accessible primary sources that document all facets of the institution.  Authentic, reliable primary sources can be valuable to student and faculty research, and are part of the educational and cultural history of the United States.  Just select one of the red tabs above to explore information about archival collections at Denison.

Denison University was founded by the American Baptists in 1831.  The archives holds the papers of first president, John Pratt, as well as subsequent past presidents.  Selected faculty and alumni papers, plus biographical information on well-known alumni, are held.  There is information on campus buildings, events of importance to Denison, academics, student organizations and publications, athletics, and other subjects related to the university's unique history.

Primary sources include many formats:  photographs, postcards, audio-visual materials, maps, correspondence and other documents, even objects.  Study of these add to our knowledge of the past.  Primary sources are created by those experiencing or recording an event, or may be produced later by participants in that event.  For example, a photograph documents a moment in time, while a taped oral history would be created at some point afterwards.


View Some Images from the Archives

  Denison insignia belt buckle


  baseball cap, early 20th century


  faculty member William Tight & family


  May Day celebration, 1920s

Subject Guide

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Sasha Griffin
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Contact Info
William Howard Doane Library
7th Floor
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Schedule a Research Appointment

Want to visit the Archives, but not sure what time works for you? 

Click here to view available upcoming appointment time slots.  Open slots will be added at least 1 week in advance.  If you need something different, please contact me to schedule a custom appointment.



Archival materials often are exhibited in the case just outside the library's main office; materials have been loaned to the Denison Museum for various exhibitions, as well.  The Museum and the University Archives complement each others holdings, especially concerning biographical files on missionaries who have donated art to Denison.

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