While University Archives and Records Management was created in the late 1960s, its holdings span the history of the University of Delaware from its roots in Francis Alison’s New London free school in 1743 to the present day. Like any collection of historical materials, these collections have strengths and weaknesses brought about by over 200 years of accumulation through professional and amateur means.
The UARM holdings from the eighteenth and early-nineteenth century are minimal. Records of the free school, later the Academy of Newark, were lost during the Revolutionary War with the British occupation of northern Delaware. Records of the Academy of Newark’s Board of Trustees are available from the late-eighteenth century onwards, and a few business records and items of correspondence dealing with fundraising by the Academy during the 1700s are available.
Newark College, later Delaware College, was chartered in 1833, and full Board of Trustee minutes are available from that date onward (note: committee records are restricted). As the institution and faculty initially were quite small, these records, along with an extensive set of faculty meeting minutes, provide much of the information about the general operations of the early college. Records relating to the Board of Trustees are at the core of UARM collections and allow the researcher to trace the development of many parts of the University.
UARM holdings expand significantly for late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. These collections include strong holdings in business papers from the Office of the President, which served as the center of both academic and business activities of the University. Student life also is well-represented from this period, with collections from the campus literary societies that formed the center of student social life in the 19th century particularly. Full hardcopy runs of student publications also begun in this era – the student newspaper (The Review, 1882-2020) and student yearbooks (The Blue Hen, 1899-1999) – are held in the UARM collections as well.
The overall collection of publications and reports held by UARM from throughout the university’s history is a great strength of its collections. From the earliest academic catalogs, to annual reports, to student and faculty handbooks, to athletics programs, these publications trace the daily life and the major events of the University of Delaware’s existence. Also included are full runs of undergraduate and graduate course catalogs and programmatic materials from commencement, convocation, and Honor’s Day ceremonies.
Other strengths of UARM’s twentieth century collections include extensive holdings from the College of Agricultural and Natural Resources and Delaware Cooperative Extension programming throughout the state, scrapbooks and other ephemera relating to the Women’s College of Delaware (opened in 1914 as a coordinate institution to Delaware College), minutes of the faculty and Faculty Senate meetings, and an extensive collection of memorabilia relating to all aspects of the university. While modern student organizations are not well represented, some significant collections are held, such as the records of the E-52 student theater group.
The audio-visual holdings of UARM are also very significant. The Image Collection consists of over 17,000 individually cataloged images depicting all aspects of life at the University of Delaware, including campus buildings, faculty and staff, student life, special events and athletics. A small collection of films, videos and audio recordings supplement these holdings.