Online Collections

There are many excellent online collections and resources which contain key and detailed information about the history of this great university. The following list provides serves as a starting point for online research.

For our web archiving and born-digital collection policy, visit Web and Born Digital Policy and Procedures.

Internet Archive

The Archives preserves portions of the UW-Madison, Colleges, System, and Extension Web sites on the Internet Archive. Web pages are crawled incrementally and content, including multimedia, is searchable within the University Archives site on Archive-It, the Internet Archive’s Web archiving service:

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison collection is the home of over 100 public web pages that document many aspects of campus life including university administration, colleges, departments, and major campus organizations, student life, research, buildings, and special and ongoing events. These webpages are selected for archiving based on criteria presented in the University Archives Collection Policy for web and born digital materials. The collection is searchable by keyword and also includes videos and images.
  • Stem Cell Research project collects, preserves, and provides access to records of stem cell research at UW-Madison reactions in Wisconsin to work accomplished or underway at UW-Madison. These archival records and reactions include paper and digital materials (Web-based and otherwise), as well as audio and video resources. The Libraries of the University of Wisconsin-Madison serve as the home for the materials collected and preserved in the course of this project.

Exhibits

Visit Archives Exhibits to view additional Web-based timelines, narratives and multimedia projects that illuminate topics related to UW campus history.


The UW-Madison Collection

The UW Digital Collections Center hosts a wealth of photographs, images, and texts related to campus history in the UW-Madison Collection including (but not limited to):

  • The Badger Yearbook, 1885 and 1888-2009
  • Class Albums
  • The University of Wisconsin: A History (4 volumes)
  • Wisconsin Alumni Magazine, 1899-1990
  • University of Wisconsin Alumni Directory, 1849-1919
  • Wisconsin Engineer, 1896-2004
  • University of Wisconsin Archives Images
  • William J. Meuer Photoart Albums
  • Student and organization scrapbooks and photos albums
  • Campus humor magazines
  • Daily Cardinal and other campus newspapers
Bascom Hill, c. 1910

Bascom Hill, c. 1910

The UW Board of Regents Collection

This collection consists of the digitized minutes of the meetings of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents from 1921-1991. The 70-year scope of this collection captures the expansion of the University of Wisconsin from one four-year campus in Madison with 7,344 students to a statewide system of 26 campuses annually serving more than 173,000 students and over one million Wisconsin residents through statewide Extension. Hosted by the UW Digital Collections Center. Board of Regents agendas and minutes after 1991 are available on the Board of Regents web site.

Board of Regents, 1924

Board of Regents, 1924

The Aldo Leopold Archives Collection

The Aldo Leopold Archives Collection, including texts, correspondence, journals, photographs and other documents, digitized and hosted by the UW Digital Collections Center.

Funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the Aldo Leopold Foundation, the UW-Madison General Library System and the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center.

Aldo Leopold at his desk, 1942

Aldo Leopold at his desk, 1942

Buildings of the University of Wisconsin

In 1997, former UW student Jim Feldman published The Buildings of the University of Wisconsin. It was the first comprehensive account of all of the physical structures that make up the UW-Madison campus—from heating plants and parking structures to the more stately facades of Bascom and Science Halls. This online publication provides a chronological narrative and photos of UW’s most well-known structures.

Science Hall, c. 1887

Science Hall, c. 1887

The Cultural Landscape of the UW-Madison Campus

This photo gallery was developed as a research tool to inventory and assess cultural landscape resources on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. While individual buildings help to define the landscape, the focus of this collection is not so much on the structures themselves, but on how the buildings help to define an outdoor space. Hosted by the UW Digital Collections Center.

In addition to looking at specific campus sectors, a broad archaeological survey of campus was conducted, focusing on nearly 100 acres of campus lands where several new ancient habitation sites were identified.

Observatory Hill Burial Mound

Observatory Hill Burial Mound

The History of Women at the University of Wisconsin

The History of Women at the University of Wisconsin collection augments the general histories of the University by focusing on the roles and activities of women students, faculty, and staff and on the development of women’s studies throughout the System. Hosted by the UW Digital Collections Center.

The initial collection consists of seven works published by the University between 1980 and 2001.

Take Back the Night Rally, 1982

Take Back the Night Rally, 1982

Ecology and Natural Resources Collection

This collection contains unique and valuable titles on ecology and natural resources, as well as writings about research conducted by University of Wisconsin faculty and staff. Hosted by the UW Digital Collections Center. Resources include:

  • Arboretum Unpublished Research Works
  • Images from the Aldo Leopold Papers, 1903-1948
  • Virginia M. Kline Collection: Ecological Communities of Wisconsin
  • University of Wisconsin Geology Museum Historical Collection
  • Wisconsin Land Economic Inventory Maps (Bordner Survey)
Prunus americana flowers, East Curtis Prairie UW-Madison Arboretum

Prunus americana flowers, East Curtis Prairie UW-Madison Arboretum

Home Economics to Human Ecology: A Centennial History at the UW-Madison

Home Economics to Human Ecology is a digital collection of photographs and ephemera illustrating aspects of the past 100 years at the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Hosted by the UW Digital Collections Center. The collection also contains the full-text of Rima D. Apple’s The Challenge of Constantly Changing Times: From Home Economics to Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison 1903-2003.

Food Chemistry Lab, c. 1915

Food Chemistry Lab, c. 1915

The State of Wisconsin Collection

Materials about the State of Wisconsin and its history and ongoing development. These published and archival materials were digitized from a variety of formats including books, manuscripts, sound recordings, photographs, and maps. Hosted by the UW Digital Collections Center.

Includes many resources closely related to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, including:

  • Board of Regents Reports to the Governor, 1852-1914 (part of Public Documents of the State of Wisconsin)
  • Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters
  • The Story of Madison, by Reuben Gold Thwaites
  • Wisconsin Blue Books
Christmas tree and patients at Bradley Memorial Hospital from the Wisconsin Traditions of Social Care Collection

Christmas tree and patients at Bradley Memorial Hospital from the Wisconsin Traditions of Social Care Collection

The Literature Collection

The Literature Collection is a multi layered grouping of works in literature and the humanities. From medieval to modern, scholarly to satirical, there is something for everyone. Hosted by the UW Digital Collections Center.

This collection includes the full text of the Wisconsin Literary Magazine from 1903-1929, to which many University of Wisconsin-Madison students and faculty contributed over the years.

Women Reading, c. 1915

Women Reading, c. 1915

Additional Resources

There are other entities that maintain online collections and resources that document key aspects of campus history including: