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Manuscript Collections


Our manuscript or “paper” collections are limited to items relating directly to UW Madison. We collect original source documents from administrative offices and from faculty and staff, as well as alumni. We maintain over 33,000 linear feet of paper records and published materials.

There are subject and correspondence files from University presidents, chancellors, deans, department chairs and other administrators, as well as faculty committees, papers of faculty members, and the University budget.

The Archives also collects material that document faculty research areas and the development of campus units. We also maintain information about affiliated groups and organizations such as student and staff clubs, arts ensembles, athletics (including recreational sports), and social and honor societies. Other materials document University housing and buildings, the Wisconsin Union Directorate, Facilities Management and Planning, and campus construction and growth.

Most Archives collections are cataloged and can be accessed via the UW-Madison Library Catalog. The Archives maintains more detailed finding aids and/or inventories for many of these collections, contact us for more information.

Beyond UW-Madison

The University Archives is the official repository for historically significant material documenting UW System administration, UW Colleges and UW-Extension.

  1. UW System materials are found in Series 40.
  2. UW-Extension materials are found in three main records series:
  3. Materials from the UW Colleges are held Series 42.

Visit Use the Archives for instructions on how to search Archives collections.

Archives Records Groups

Our paper collections are divided into over 40 record groups which follow the basic structure of the University. The main record groups are listed below. Contact the Archives for a more detailed list of holdings within each specific record group or view the most up-to-date index as a PDF.

Record Group # / Record Group Title / Date Span

0 University General History, 1851-2004 [Guide 00]

1 Board of Regents, 1848-1971 (see Record Group 40 for records after 1971) [Guide 01]

2 Board of Visitors, 1858-1986 [Guide 02]

3 Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), 1908-1976 [Guide 03]

4 Chancellors & Presidents, 1857-2004 [Guide 04]

5 Faculty Governance, 1852-2002 [Guide 05]

6 Graduate School, 1897-2006 [Guide 06]

7 College of Letters and Science, 1899-2005 [Guide 07]

8 College of Engineering, 1890-2001 [Guide 08]

9 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, 1886-2004 [Guide 09]

10 School of Human Ecology, 1914-2004, (previously Family Resources & Consumer Science; Home Economics) [Guide 10]

11 Law School, 1868-2003 [Guide 11]

12 Medical School, 1904-2005 [Guide 12]

13 School of Education, 1897-2004 [Guide 13]

14 School of Business, 1900-2001 (previously School of Commerce) [Guide 14]

15 School of Pharmacy, 1883-1980 [Guide 15]

16 Summer Session & Intercollegiate Programs, 1885-1990 [Guide 16]

17 Physical Plant, 1960-2005 [Guide 17]

18 Extension & Outreach, 1887-1990 (see also Record Group 41) [Guide 18]

19 Student Affairs, 1849-2006 [Guide 19]

20 Student Life, 1856-2006 [Guide 20]

21 Wisconsin Alumni Association, 1870-2004 [Guide 21]

22 General Library System, 1850-2004 (previously Libraries) [Guide 22]

23 Intercollegiate Athletics, 1895-2004 [Guide 23]

24 Business Administration, 1889-2005 [Guide 24]

25 Housing, 1883-1994 (previously Residence Halls) [Guide 25]

26 Social Education (Wisconsin Union) , 1904-2005 [Guide 26]

27 University of Wisconsin Press, no records [Guide 27]

28 Industrial Relations Research Institute, 1951-2004 [Guide 28]

29 University Communications, 1895-2002, (previously News & Public Affairs; University News Service; Press Bureau) [Guide 29]

30 Radio & TV Education (WHA), 1928-1993 [Guide 30]

31 Industrial Relations Research Association, 1959-1972 [Guide 31]

32 Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC), 1917-1993 [Guide 32-37]

33 State Geologist, 1913-1945 [Guide 32-37]

34 Forest Products Laboratory, 1900-1953 [Guide 32-37]

36 Enzyme Research Institute (1947-1999) [Guide 32-37]

37 Wisconsin Psychiatric Institute (1973) [Guide 32-37]

38 Arboretum, 1905-1976 [Guide 38]

39 Limnology 1882-2000 [Guide 39]

40 UW System, 1912-2002 (previously Central Administration) [Guide 40]

41 University Extension, 1952-2002 (see also Record Group 18) [Guide 41]

42 UW Colleges, 1956-2003 (previously Center System) [Guide 42]

43 Arts Council, 1960-1971 [Guide 43]

44 Division of International Studies [Guide 44]

45 UW Milwaukee [Guide 45]

46 School of Veterinary Medicine, 1980-2000 [Guide 46]

47 UW Colleges and UW Extension [Guide 47]

48 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer [Guide 48]

51 Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), 1890-1970 [Guide 51]

52 Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), 1884-1972 [Guide 52]

53 Recreational Sports, 1932-1960 [Guide 53]

54 Outreach Development, 1965-1995 [Guide 54]

Biographical Files

The Archives collects and maintains biographical files for faculty, staff and administrators affiliated with the University of Wisconsin. These files range in size from one sheet of paper to several inches of material including resumes, official University correspondence, campus-generated and external press related to an individual’s career, obituaries and other relevant documents.

Subject and Building Files

The Archives collects and maintains subject files on a wide variety of topics related to the history of the University including landscape change, student life, key research areas and discoveries, political issues related to campus, athletics, student and campus governance and academic issues. The files range in size from one sheet of paper to several inches thick and may include press clippings, official University correspondence, and other documentation. Some subject files have also been digitized and are available in the UW Digital Collection, particularly within the UW-Madison Collection.

Course Descriptions

The Archives maintains bound volumes of older course descriptions. Course descriptions from the early 1990s on are available at the University’s Guide: Archive web page. Current undergraduate and graduate catalogs are available on the main Guide site. Timetables beginning with Spring 2006 are available in Minds@UW. Please note:

  • We are able to photocopy course descriptions for you.
  • There is no fee for up to 20 pages after which we charge .10 per photocopy.
  • If you are located outside the United States, we charge $15.00 plus postage.
  • To facilitate this request, please provide a photocopy of your transcript and/or a list with the course number, course name and semester taken.
  • The Archives does not maintain student transcripts. You may obtain a copy through the UW-Madison Registrar’s Office.