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Student Life and Culture Archival Program: Strategies for Research

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

Some Considerations

Research Questions to Consider when Analyzing a Primary Source:

 What is it?

Who made it?

When and where was it created?

What does it tell you?

Why was it created?

Primary sources are documents created by the witnesses or first recorders of these events at about the time they occurred. These can include: diaries, letters, reports, photos, creative works, administrative records, financial records, memos and newspaper articles. Primary sources also include first hand accounts that were documented later, such as autobiographies, memoirs or oral histories.

All of these types of materials can be found in the University Archives.

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. 

Finding a topic?

If you are having difficulty getting started, the archivists have suggested some topics that might give you some ideas.

You can find any number of topics by reviewing the "Student Life at Illinois: A Timeline".  The events that affected campus and the students are arranged here chronologically.  Just click on a decade in the timeline on the left sidebar to find topics to research in the archives.

This timeline spans the entire history of the University of Illinois: from 1867 to the present day. This chronology covers many facets of world history, student life on campus as well as general milestones in the history of the University.


Oral History Projects at the Student Life and Culture Archives

A page dedicated to the oral history projects being conducted by the SLC Archives. These projects document the stories of students during the Great Depression and the Second World War, as well as provide interviews with students, faculty and administrators involved with the efforts to create greater access to education for minority students during the late-1960s and early 1970s.

Greek Housing History at University of Illinois

The Society for the Preservation of Greek Housing (SPGH) and seeks to provides histories of fraternity and sorority houses at the University of Illinois. The Fraternity Chapter History Project is funded by Society for the Preservation of Greek Housing (SPGH) and seeks to provide chapter histories of every social fraternity and sorority that has existed, or continues to exist, on the University of Illinois campus.


Origin of the University of Illinois Homecoming

This paper details how the tradition of homecoming began at the University of Illinois and was influence by alumni traditions at other colleges and universities around the country.

The University of Illinois in the Cold War Era, 1945-1975

This is an extensive research guide which details the SLC archival collections during the era of the Cold War. It includes brief summaries of record groups and background history that places the materials in their proper context. The guide covers free speech on campus, student life during the Cold War, civil rights struggles at U of I , student protest to the Vietnam war and university politics.

Contact us

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

Student Life and Culture Archives web site:

Archives Blog

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 Some of the books below are available online in full text.  The others have active links to the catalog records at the Illinois library.





  An Illini Century - Ebert, RogerEdit/Delete

Call Number: C.Il6uEe
Publication Date: 1967
Sixteen Years at the University - James, Edmund JEdit/Delete
Call Number: LD2380 .J3
Publication Date: 1920

Cover Art

llini Years; a picture history of the University of Illinois, 1868-1950. - Stephens, CarlEdit/Delete
Illinois Call Number: C.Il6uEili
Publication Date: 1950

The University of Illinois, 1867-1894; an intellectual and cultural history, - Solberg, Winton U.Edit/Delete
Call Number: C.IL6UES
Publication Date: 1968