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Denison University Archives  

The University Archives documents and preserves the history of Denison University.
Last Updated: Jan 26, 2015 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

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.


Searching for Archival Materials

There are many digital collections that document Denison's history that are available with 24/7 open access.  Visit Digital Archives to search and browse these collections.

While many materials are available digitally, the majority of Denison's Archives are located on the 7th floor, a closed access floor of the library.  If you would like to learn more on a specific topic of Denison's past, please contact the archivist to schedule an appointment.  These materials cannot be checked out, so be sure to reserve a good amount of time.  


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.

Subject Guide

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Sasha Griffin
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William Howard Doane Library
7th Floor
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Currently on display on the 3rd floor of the library:

Denison University has had a long history of student activism, especially regarding racial tensions felt on campus.  Along with materials from the Denison Museum, the library and archives have put together a display on the 3rd floor of the library in honor of MLK Day.  See student publications, flyers, photographs, and more that document the past 50 years of protests and boycotts at Denison in the name of racial equality and campus-wide dialogue.  

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