Archives History

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives was founded in 1951, and in 1992 became a member library of the General Library System. It is an official State records repository under 16.61(13) of the Wisconsin Statutes and is governed by Faculty Legislation II-400 and by policies set through the Faculty Archives Committee.

The Archives is the official repository not only for the UW-Madison, but also for the UW-System Administration, UW Extension and the UW Colleges System.

The Archives collects primary source materials from the university and makes them available to administrators and researchers, provides records management services to university offices, and maintains strong photographic and oral history programs.

Records Management Program

The University Records Management Program is housed within the University Archives in Steenbock Library.

Chapter 16.61 of the Wisconsin Statutes defines public records as “all books, papers, maps, photographs, films, recordings, or other documentary materials, regardless of their physical form or characteristics, produced or received by any state agency or its officers or employees in connection with the transaction of public business, except the records and correspondence of any member of the state legislature.”

University records thus consist of all documentary materials (including copies) produced or received by any university department, office, or staff member in connection with university business and retained as evidence of university activities because of the information they contain.

The UW-Madison Records Officer consults campus wide with departments and units in managing all information assets, regardless of form or format.

For more information about this program and records management services, contact:

Sarah Grimm, University Records Officer
University Records Management Program / (608) 262-3284

Or visit University Records Management

Oral History Program

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Oral History Project was established as part of the University History Project in 1971. Its initial charge was to interview prominent emeritus faculty members about their research and careers at the University.

Over the years, the Project became a part of the UW Madison Archives, changed from a project to a program, and expanded its scope to include interviews with campus administrators, staff, and students as well as faculty. Taken individually, these interviews reflect the careers and interests of the interviewees; taken collectively they constitute a narrative of the development of the University over time. As such, they form an invaluable part of the historical record of the University in its over 160 years of existence.

For more information about this program, contact:

Troy Reeves, Oral History Program Manager
University of Wisconsin-Madison Oral History Program / 608-890-1899

Or visit Oral History Program

Wisconsin Historical Society

If you are looking for resources that focus more broadly on Wisconsin history, contact the Wisconsin Historical Society located at 816 State Street on the UW-Madison campus.

The Society serves as the archives of the State of Wisconsin; it collects books, periodicals, maps, manuscripts, relics, newspapers, and audio and graphic materials as they relate to North America; it maintains a museum, library, and research facility in Madison as well as a statewide system of historic sites, school services, area research centers, and affiliated local societies. The Society also administers a broad program of historic preservation; and publishes a wide variety of historical materials, both scholarly and popular.

For more information about Wisconsin historical resources, contact:

Wisconsin Historical Society Library-Archives Division / 608-264-6535

The Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research is also housed in the Wisconsin Historical Society building. This center, co-sponsored by UW-Madison and the WHS, houses one of the world’s major archives of research materials relating to cinema and the entertainment industry.

Sterling Hall bombing, 1970. # 031212as06
Sterling Hall bombing, Aug. 1970. # 031212as06

Campus clown competition, 1950. #S03834
Campus clown competition, 1950. #S03834

May Fete dancers, 1912. #ch05072014
May Fete dancers, 1912. #ch05072014

Homecoming decorations, 1953. #S14240
Homecoming decorations, 1953. #S14240

"Cap" Isabel with swimmers, 1923. #uwar01411
“Cap” Isabel with swimmers, 1923. #uwar01411