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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Student Life and Culture Archival Program: Why use the archives?

Archives designed to record student culture at the University of Illinois.

Primary Souces

If you have nevery used primary sources before, this website is an excellent starting point.  It was designed with the Student Life and Culture collection in mind. 

Research Guides

Why archives?

In general, archives are a unique record of an institution or individual.  They can be letters, memos, diaries, scrapbooks, calendars, as well as official records of an institution. It is the charge of the University Archives to collect the office records, publications, and personal papers from the University and the Urbana-Champaign campus. The information you find here will often be recorded no where else. The image below shows the title page of the journal"The Green Caldron"  first published in the 1930s by the University's rhetoric classes. There are many other publications by students that can be found in the archives like the "Sopograph" and others.

The archives of an institution like the University of Illinois have permanent value either as evidence of the operation of that in-stitution or because it provides important information about people, places, events, or phenomena. In addition, the word archives can also mean the administrative unit responsible for the permanent records or the building in which the records are housed.

The Student Life and Culture Archival Program collects, preserves, and makes available materials documenting student involvement in fraternities, sororities, student government, religious associations, publications, social events, athletics, and other activities that contribute to the total student experience in higher education. Because the intellectual development of students does not occur in a vacuum, documenting student life means going beyond the limits of the classroom.

Where are the archives

Here at Illinois the archives are stored in three physical spaces:

  • University Archives, Room 19 Main Library (UA)
  • Student Life and Culture Archives, Archives Research Center, 1707 S. Orchard, Urbana (ARC)
  • Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, 1103 S. Sixth St., Champaign (SA)

Each of these three physical spaces houses a great deal of material, but each has a specialized focus.  The Student Life and Culture Archival Program housed at ARC has focused on the records of student activity during the University's existence.  They include:

  • Office records - Student Affairs and Greek Affairs
  • Student Organizations - religious, political, social, musical, athletic, social action, residential, etc.
  • Student alumni papers - scrapbooks, correspondence, diaries, artifacts
  • National association records - Alpha Tau Omega, Association of College Honor Societies, etc.

Contact us

Ellen Swain, Archivist for Student Life and Culture
Archives Research Center
Phone: 333-7841

Student Life and Culture Archives web site:

Archives Database

Click to access Archon.

SLC Libguides