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

The Archives administers the university’s Records Management Program. Our records officer works with offices and departments across the university to ensure the proper retention and disposition of records, as mandated by the State Records Act of Illinois (5 ILCS 160 et seq). The State Records Act and university policy require that all WIU offices secure approval from the Illinois State Records Commission before destroying or discarding records used in the transaction of university business.

Before disposing of records, please contact the records officer, who can advise on retention issues and handle the necessary paperwork. If you are already familiar with the approval process, you may access the Records Disposal Certificate here (RDC), fill it out, and forward it to the Archives. Please allow 30 days for the approved RDC form to be returned to your office, after which you may dispose of the records therein. Shredding is the preferred method for destruction of any records containing sensitive or identifying information.

The university’s Records Retention Schedules (Retention Schedules) were created in 1985 and are out of date in many areas. Updating them via additions and amendments is an ongoing process. In searching for your office, first consider which vice-presidential area your office is under, as well as any previous name changes or organizational shifts due to university re-structuring. If you are unable to locate your office or its predecessor, please contact the Records Officer for assistance.

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
Unit Coordinator (Room 638)
Dr. Jeffrey Hancks
Professor (Room 438)
William Cook
Senior Library Specialist, IRAD On-Campus Supervisor
Kathy Nichols
Senior Library Specialist
Bruce Ackers
Library Specialist, University Records Manager


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