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University Archives & Special Collections

Website for the Denison University Archives & Special Collections

About the Collections

The University Archives is the memory center for Denison’s history. The Archives holds photographs, papers, letters, student scrapbooks, departmental files, faculty research, and more. These items collectively tell the story of Denison’s past in order to help inform its present and future. Browse the finding aids HERE.

 All of the materials in the University Archives are categorized into the following Record Groups:

1.   The University
2.   Board of Trustees
3.   The Presidents
4.   Administration
5.   Dean/Provost
6.   Registrar
7.   Religious Life
8.   Library
9.   Student Services
10. University Relations, Development, and Alumni Affairs
11. Finance and Management
12. Academic Departments and Special Programs
13. Governance
14. Student Life and Organizations
19. Affiliiated Organizations
20. Granville Female Seminary (1833-1860)
21. Young Ladies Institute (1859-1887)
22. Shepardson College (1887-1900)
23. Doane Academy (1892-1927)
28. Granville Female Academy / College (1834-1898)
30. Granville area
P&B Publications & Biographical Files
PP Personal Papers (Faculty and Alumni)

Most of the documents in the University Archives are papers, such as letters, manuscripts, press clippings, and more.  However, we also hold a variety of other formats and we use special codes in our call numbers to help us identify them:

        - Books (12)
        - Lantern Slides & Glass Negatives (42)
        - Proposals (47)
        - Objects (61)
        - Video tape: VHS, Beta, etc. (88)
        - Photographs and Portraits (90)
        - Diplomas and Certificates (91)
        - Blueprints and Charts (93)
        - Scrapbooks (94)
        - Audio tape: Cassettes, etc. (95)
        - Audio Records (96)
        - Films and Slides (97)
        - Microfilm (98)
        - Oversized (99)

You can browse our online finding aids here.


The Library’s Special Collections hold a variety of rare, collectible, unusual, and fragile books. It includes medieval manuscripts, artists books, limited edition classics, sheet music, Bibles, and more. The Denisoniana collection contains books written about and published by Denison University, its faculty, and its alumni.

Just a few of our special collections:

  • The Artist's Books Collection – The artists’ books collection features books that are visually intriguing and are rare and unique items. Some subjects represented include art, identity, women’s studies, and environmental studies.
  • The Civil War Collection – This collection includes histories of the war, rosters of Ohio soldiers who served, memoirs, and photographic histories of the war.  It also covers related subjects such as reconstruction, slavery, and the presidency of Abraham Lincoln.
  • The William Howard Doane Collection – This collection contains alum William Howard Doane’s personal book donations, including Baptist hymnals, temperance hymns, secular compositions, and more.
  • The Otto F. Ege Collection – A collection of original medieval manuscript leaves relating to the work of Otto F. Ege and additional collected and purchased medieval manuscripts and leaves. 
  • The Gilbert Collection – The Gilbert Collection contains the personal science library of the famous geologist, Grove Karl Gilbert, given to Denison to replace books lost in the 1906 Barney fire.
  • The Edgar J. Goodspeed Collection – This collection includes numerous special editions of the Bible in many languages and other religious texts, donated by Edgar J. Goodspeed, class of 1890 and renown scholar.
  • The Percy Wiltsee Collection –  A collection of classic works from the Limited Editions Club, donated by Percy Wiltsee, alum, Trustee, and benefactor of Denison University.
  • The Denisoniana Collection –  A collection of books by Denison authors, relating to the history of Denison, or published by Denison. 

Harmful Content Warning

The Denison University Archives & Special Collections is charged with maintaining the historical records of the college to tell the story of the institution and its community.  As such, we maintain records and descriptions of items that may be harmful or difficult to view.

Some examples of items that may be harmful include:

  • Items that include racist language, images, opinions, or context.
  • Items that contain sexist or misogynistic language, opinions, or context.
  • A lack of representation in our collection that may reflect bias or exclusion in prior collecting practices.

How is the Archives working to address this problem?

  • Making users aware of the possibility of encountering harmful materials.
  • Working to improve our collection practices to better represent all Denisonians.
  • Inviting users to explore the archives and comment on their findings.

We welcome further discussion about these aspects of Denison’s history in an effort to learn from our past, rather than hide from it. Feel free to contact us at

Denison Libraries, 100 W College, Granville, Ohio 43023
Phone: 740-587-6235, email:
In order to view PDF documents, you will need to have the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software installed on your computer