Archives & Special Collections


The University Archives is the official repository for university records. Materials housed in the University Archives include records of administrative offices and faculty and student organizations, publications issued by the university, student newspapers, yearbooks, faculty publications, and masters theses, as well as photographs, oral history tapes, and memorabilia relating to the university. Contents of the University's time capsule, opened September 23, 1999, as part of the University's Centennial Celebration, are now part of the Archives' permanent collection.

The Archival Collection is a record of the university's contribution to knowledge as well as a reflection of its development and operation.

Special Collections

Special Collections documents the cultural, economic, and natural heritage of west-central Illinois. Special-interest centers include: the Center for Regional Authors, the Baxter-Snyder Center for Icarian Studies, and the Center for Hancock County History, including the Mormon Collection. Publications of the Decker Press and a number of Civil War Manuscripts are a significant part of Special Collections. Also included are collections related to naturalist Elton Fawkes, singer Burl Ives, historian Philip D. Jordan, and congressmen Thomas Railsback and Lane Evans, among others. A vast amount of other regional materials, such as county and town histories, oral history tapes, diaries, letters, maps, photographs, and newspaper clippings augment Special Collections, reflecting life as it once was, and now is, in west-central Illinois.

Records Management

Western Illinois University is mandated by the Illinois State Records Act (5 ILCS 160 et seq) to ensure that all books, papers, digitized electronic material, maps, photographs, databases, or other official documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristic, made, produced, executed or received are not destroyed until proper authorization is received from the State Records Commission. WIU’s Archives administers the university’s records management program. The records officer works with offices and departments across the university to assist them in following procedures for the proper retention, disposal, and storage of historical records in Archives.

Any person who knowingly, without lawful authority alters, destroys, defaces, removes, or conceals any public record commits a Class 4 Felony. Please contact the records officer, who can advise on record retention issues and help handle the necessary paperwork. Records Management Information provides a brief presentation on records management, the retention schedules for your office records, forms, and instructions to assist you in complying with the State Records Act.

Malpass Library has a large capacity shredder your office may use to destroy your documents after the State Records Commission approves the destruction of your records. Contact the records officer and Facilities Management to coordinate the pickup and delivery of documents to be destroyed at Malpass Library or for transferring your historical documents to Archives for permanent storage.

Archives collects additional records that show the university’s rich past. We preserve photos, flyers, brochures, scrapbooks, recordings of student recitals or plays, and any other information that showcase the activities on campus to assist us in keeping an accurate record of events in the past. It is important that we all share stewardship of the historical record at WIU. It doesn’t happen unless you provide those materials to Archives.

Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD)

Archives and Special Collections also houses the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD), one of seven centers for local government records in the state of Illinois under the auspices of the Illinois State Archives in Springfield.

The WIU-IRAD covers a 16-county area of west-central Illinois. Because of its location and the nature of its collection, the holding in the WIU-IRAD nicely complement the WIU Special Collections. Holdings and research policies of the WIU-IRAD can be accessed through the Illinois State Archives webpage.

General Information

The WIU Archives and Special Collections is located on the 6th floor of Malpass Library.

Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.; closed on University holidays.

For more information call (309) 298-2717, or send e-mail:


Dr. Michael Lorenzen (CV)
Unit Coordinator (Room 638)
Dr. Jeffrey Hancks
William Cook
Senior Library Specialist, IRAD On-Campus Supervisor
Kathy Nichols
Senior Library Specialist, Notary Public
Andrea Francis
Library Operations Associate, Maps Coordinator


Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD)
Phone: 309-298-2716