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About the University Archives

Mission Statement

The functions of the University Archives are to acquire, arrange, describe, and preserve all forms of documentation of the history and administration of the University of Maryland; to provide reference assistance to University of Maryland students, faculty, and administrators and off-campus researchers; to assist campus units in determining appropriate retention periods for their records; and to disseminate information about the holdings of the University Archives through bibliographic instruction, exhibits, and campus publications.

University Archives


The University Archives serves as the collective memory of the University of Maryland, from the granting of the charter for the Maryland Agricultural College on March 6, 1856, to the present day.

Established by the University of Maryland Libraries in 1972, the Archives is the official repository for all of the university's permanent records and actively gathers administrative files, university publications, photographs, audiovisual materials, faculty papers, theses & dissertations, and memorabilia that document all aspects of campus life.

The University Archives is a heavily consulted resource for the University of Maryland community and researchers across the United States and around the world, handling nearly 1,500 requests for information annually.

University Archives Holdings

The University Archives is the repository for a broad range of materials, including: administrative files, faculty and administrators' papers, university publications, theses and dissertations, photographs, audiovisual materials, and memorabilia, documenting the history and present activities of the University of Maryland, and in particular, the College Park campus. The holdings of the University Archives are strongest in the post-1916 period.

Administrative Files

These materials (known as "archival record groups") have been transferred to the Archives from a variety of University of Maryland administrative units, academic departments, research centers, and student groups. Many of these record groups, which span the entire history of the university, are currently available for research. The University Archives is also responsible for selected files documenting the University System, including records of the University of Maryland Board of Regents dating from 1916 to 1988.

Faculty and Administrators' Papers

The University Archives collects the personal papers of individuals who have had significant administrative responsibilities on the campus, as well as faculty members who have achieved national and/or international recognition in their academic discipline or who have had a major role in the life of the university. A complete listing of these collections may be found here.

University Publications

The Archives attempts to collect any document published on the College Park campus. The university publications collection includes course catalogs, schedules of classes, minutes, annual reports, newsletters, brochures, yearbooks, scientific and technical reports, and student publications. Holdings primarily document the period from the 1970s to the present, but retrospective sets of catalogs, bulletins, and other miscellaneous publications date from the 1850s.

Theses and Dissertations

The Archives is responsible for the archival, non-circulating copies of all master's theses and doctoral dissertations completed by University of Maryland graduate students, dating from the first Ph.D. issued in 1920 to the present. The Archives also works closely with the staff of DRUM (Digital Repository at the University of Maryland) to ensure that the electronic copies of these materials are properly maintained and preserved. For more information about this collection, see Theses and Dissertations at University of Maryland Libraries.


This collection consists of approximately 500,000 images depicting all aspects of campus life. Included are shots of campus buildings and landscape, sports and other events, student life, and individual and group portraits. They date primarily from the 1930s to the 1970s, although some late-nineteenth- and early twentieth-century images are included as well.

University Album: A Digital Collection of University of Maryland Images

Audiovisual Materials

The Archives is a rich source of audiovisual materials including about 10,000 pieces of film and videotape. These materials mainly document the university's athletic history and important events on campus. They date primarily from the 1950s to the present.


The Archives holds approximately 3,000 UMD-related objects, such as ceremonial footballs, plaques, trophies, student and sports uniforms, and portraits of past university leaders. A particular highlight of the collection is the mounted diamondback terrapin that was the model for the university mascot, "Testudo." The collection spans more than a century of the history of the UMD campus.

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