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.


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.

WIU 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. University policy and the State Records Act of Illinois (5 ILCS 160 et seq) require that all Western Illinois University 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 will advise on retention issues and handle the paperwork necessary for you to receive disposition approval from the State Records Commission in Springfield.

The university’s Records Retention Schedules (Retention Schedules) were created in 1985 and are out of date in many areas. Updating the schedules is an ongoing process. If you are unable to locate your office in the retention schedules, if your record categories have changed, or if your office has been affected by university re-structuring, please contact the Archives and the Records Officer will help you create a new or amended retention schedule.

General Information

The WIU Archives and Special Collections is located on the 6th floor of the University 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. Jeffrey Hancks, Unit Coordinator
Professor and Librarian
Phone: 309/298-2717
Bill Cook
Library Specialist
Kathy Nichols
Senior Library Specialist
Ann Patridge
Senior Library Specialist
Records Officer
Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD)
Phone: 309-298-2716