On New Year's Eve 1927, former University President William Watts Folwell wrote to then President Lotus Coffman with a request, "I beg leave to suggest for your consideration the establishment of University archives…I do not need to impress on you the importance of collecting documents which have gone into history and all publications in all branches of the University… and of cataloguing and arranging them so that they may be found." The Board of Regents considered his request and authorized the "establishment of the archives of the University in the General Library" at their January 6, 1928 meeting. But, what is a university archives? The University of Minnesota Archives is not only an institutional repository for the minutes, reports, and other records of enduring value that President Folwell longed to secure. University Archives collects and provides documentary evidence from a variety of sources of the functions of the University, and the information informs others regarding their own work, be they an undergraduate or graduate student, genealogist, public researcher, University administrator, or international scholar. The exhibit provides a look back at the past 90 years of the University of Minnesota Archives through its Regents mandate to collect, preserve, and provide broad access to the "historically valuable documentation of University units and individuals, including faculty, staff, and administrators." It does this in two ways. First, the exhibit traces the origins of the University Archives collections and underscores the challenges faced and successes celebrated over the past nine decades. The exhibit then turns its focus toward the archival materials that detail the functions of the University. In these panels, administrative records, student reporting, University publications, personal correspondence, maps, and photographs document the articulation of academic freedom and the codification of faculty tenure, the University response to a nearly insurmountable influx of students after World War II, and the growing pains of extending academic programs and facilities to a West Bank campus. The exhibit illustrates that the people and events that are a part of the University of Minnesota may have gone into history, but they are not lost.
"Gone into History" was on display in the Atrium Gallery of Elmer L. Andersen Library from January 18 to April 27, 2018. Panels and posters from the exhibit's four areas are included.
University of Minnesota. University of Minnesota Archives.
Gone into History: 90 Years of the University of Minnesota Archives.
University of Minnesota.
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