University Archives serves as the institutional memory of Penn State. We identify, acquire, and maintain records of enduring value—regardless of format—that chronicle the development and experiences of the Penn State community since the University’s founding in 1855. As part of the Eberly Family Special Collections Library, University Archives aims to make materials available for intellectual discovery, use, and learning that connects the Penn State community, scholars, and the public.
University Archives collects and preserves University records that document the history and activities across the University:
- Administrative and academic records from schools, departments, campuses, and offices of the University determined to have long term administrative, fiscal, legal, or informational value as defined by University-adopted records retention schedules. University records considered for permanent retention in the archives must be reviewed and approved by the University Archivist prior to transfer acceptance.*
- Student and campus life, with a particular interest in student organization records that are currently active or were active in the second half of the 20th century. Of specific interest are those involved in political and social activism and students representing historically marginalized communities.
- Papers of distinguished faculty who have demonstrated significant contributions to their respective field. Collecting in this area is selective based on correlation to other collecting priorities.
- University Archives seeks publications produced by academic offices and other units on campus that are about those units and their activities, including directories, handbooks, and other published material.
*All University records are subject to University Policy AD35 – University Archives and Records Management, and the general guidelines for retention and disposition. For more information, visit the Records Management website.
Transferring Material to the University Archives
The process for transferring records to University Archives is as follows:
- Complete University Archives Transfer Request Form
- Once your request has been received, the University Archivist will contact you to:
- Work with you to decide the disposition of materials not to be retained by the University Archives (destroy or transfer to the Inactive Records Center)
- Appraise the records for historical value. This can be done over email, phone, or with a visit to your office
- Provide guidance on preparing materials for transfer
- Schedule the pickup of materials—usually by courier
See University Records Guidelines for more information.
Access to University Archives Collections
Collections in the University Archives are discoverable online via publicly accessible finding aids, and accessible to all researchers onsite in the Special Collections Reading Room. Please refer to the Special Collections homepage for more information about our research services and planning a visit.