About Archives

The University of Minnesota Libraries’ Department of Archives and Special Collections (ASC) collects and preserves an amazing array of materials that support interdisciplinary research. The collections, housed in Elmer L. Andersen Library, are available to anyone with a desire to explore, discover and learn. ASC supports teaching and learning for the University community, K-12, and lifelong learners, and sponsors an active program of exhibitions and programs that are open to the public.

Find Archives

What's in Elmer L. Andersen Library?

Elmer L. Andersen Library is home to Archives and Special Collections, which is comprised of fifteen different specialized units:

As both archives and research center, CBI promotes the study and understanding of the history of information technology and its impact on society.

The Children's Literature Research Collections holds books, comics, story papers, dime novels, and other materials related to the creation of children’s literature, including original manuscripts and artwork.

The Givens Collection facilitates access to African American history and culture through its rare book and archival collections, and through Umbra Search.

The Immigration History Research Center Archives documents im/migration to the United States from 1850 to the present, with materials created largely by immigrants and social service providers.

The Bell Library documents the history and impact of trade and cross-cultural contact around the globe prior to 1825 C.E.  More than 15 languages are represented in rare books, manuscripts/archival collections, and maps.

The YMCA Archives documents one of the nation’s largest and oldest nonprofits and its programs to support social welfare, spiritual and mental development, and physical education.

The Northwest Architectural Archives is the repository for the records of architects, engineers, contractors, landscape architects, interior designers, and local professional societies from the Midwest region.

Preserving Minnesota’s cultural legacy in music, theater, and dance, the Archives holds scripts, prompt books, costume and set designs, photos, and AV recordings from organizations, actors, designers, and directors.

The Sherlock Holmes Collections constitute the largest gathering of material documenting the transformation of Holmes from a Victorian literary creation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to a 21st century pop culture icon.

The Archives documents the history of social service programs, policies, and organizations; the evolution of the social work profession; and social reform movements.

SCRB serves as the University Libraries’ general repository for publications that require special handling due to rarity, age, value, or fragility.

The Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies includes published materials, organizational records, and personal papers providing insights into the GLBT experience, and is the home of the Tretter Transgender Oral History Project.

University Archives is the institutional home for historical documents, departmental collections, data, photographs, publications, and websites of the University, including faculty papers and research and administrative records.

UMJA has materials illustrating the American Jewish experience from a Midwestern perspective, chronicling the activities of supporting ethnic/religious communities and advocacy organizations.

The resources in the Upper Midwest Literary Archives are integral to the study of literary history, independent publishing, and writers of the Upper Midwest.

Special collections in other locations

Located at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen, the AHL is the largest horticultural library in the Upper Midwest, focusing on plants, gardening, botanical art, landscape and floral design, garden history, and the natural history of Minnesota.

Located in Diehl Hall on the East Bank campus, the Wangensteen Library for historical medical research houses 80,000 rare books, journals, and manuscripts in diverse medical and biological subjects spanning from approximately 1430 to 1930.