University Archives

About the archives

The University Archives documents the history of the University of California, particularly the Office of the President and the Berkeley campus.

Collections include official records, reports, publications, correspondence, digital files, maps, photographs, audiovisual materials, oral histories, memorabilia, and the papers of Berkeley faculty.

The earliest material relates to the College of California (1855-1868), the founding of the University in 1868, and early plans and activities of the president and the Board of Regents. The University Archives began as a repository of University of California printed documents in the mid-1870s. It was designated as the official repository of University administrative records of enduring historical importance in 1964.

Archival materials illuminate campus life, academic and administrative activity, faculty governance, research and teaching, student activities, sports, and community relations. Special strengths include political and activist literature, especially in the form of leaflets, and student publications.

Uses of the archives

The archival collections are used heavily by students, faculty, staff, and administrators throughout the University of California system. They are also used by a wide range of researchers beyond Berkeley, including scholars and genealogists. The pictorial collections are often featured in campus publications.

The University Archives has its own ongoing exhibition program (in the Rowell display cases on the second floor corridor between the Bancroft and Doe Libraries) and contributes to other exhibitions when their subjects fall within its scope.

Transferring records to the archives

The Office of the President has designated the University Archives, housed in The Bancroft Library, as the official repository for records documenting the history of the Berkeley campus and of the University of California system. Archives staff members select, preserve, and make available for use inactive records of permanent value, which relate to the history, function, and activities of the university community. Inactive records are those with no current administrative use to the unit that created them. These materials are collected by the University Archives for their enduring administrative, fiscal, legal, or historical value. Transferring records from your unit to the University Archives ensures that your historically significant correspondence, policy files, and other administrative records will be preserved for future generations of researchers.

When you are considering a transfer of records, please consult the University of California Records Retention Schedule and contact the University Archives at 510-642-8173.

Staff will visit you in your office to examine your unit’s records, arrange for their transfer, and offer additional assistance as needed. Completing a transfer form will provide a record of the materials given. More instruction details are here

Explore the archives