Manuscript Collections


Our manuscript or “paper” collections are limited to items relating directly to UW-Madison, UW System administration, UW Colleges, and UW Extension. 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. Visit Use the Archives for instructions on how to search Archives collections. The Archives maintains more detailed inventories for many of these collections, contact us for more information.

Other Useful Collections

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 actively collects and provides access to 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. Course catalogue’s prior to 1900 are available online through UW Digital Collections. The Archives does not maintain student transcripts. You may obtain a copy through the UW-Madison Registrar’s Office.