The LU Archives makes collections accessible to researchers, including faculty, staff, students, and alumni of Lawrence University and Milwaukee-Downer College, as well as visiting scholars and members of the general public. As a repository of unique materials on the Lawrence campus, the Archives also supports creative teaching and learning by serving as a laboratory for classes working with primary research materials.

For an introduction to sources available for researching the history of Lawrence University or Milwaukee-Downer College, check out our Researching Lawrence History guide.

Collections Overview

The Archives currently holds about 2,000 linear feet of collections. These collections represent a wide variety of unpublished materials from both Lawrence and Milwaukee-Downer College, including presidential papers; records from University offices and departments; papers of faculty and alumni; and a number of scrapbooks, photographs, and artifacts. The Archives also houses collections of published materials such as yearbooks, student newspapers, and other campus publications. Collections date back as far as the founding of Lawrence in the mid-1840s, and new materials are continually acquired.

Using the Archives

Archives entranceMaterials are housed in the Archives because they are unique and of long-term historical interest. Due to this nature of the materials, we ask that researchers adhere to the following policies:

  • You do not need a Lawrence identification card or a library card to use materials. However, we do ask that all researchers sign in upon entering the Archives.
  • No food or beverage is permitted in the Archives.
  • When working with archival materials, only paper, pencils, laptops, and other reference materials may be used.
  • Collections must be handled with care. Materials cannot be marked or folded, and their existing order must be maintained. Gloves are not recommended unless you are directly handling photographs or artifacts.
  • Please maintain quiet in deference to other researchers in the Archives. We ask that you turn your cell phone to vibrate and answer it outside of the Archives.
  • Researchers are welcome to bring their own cameras for photographing materials, as long as flash is turned off. A photocopier/scanner is available for use in the Archives.

For a helpful introduction to conducting archival research, see this guide from the Society of American Archivists.

Access Policy

The Lawrence University Archives is committed to providing open access to its collections as far as possible within the limits of privacy and confidentiality. Although many records are open for use, certain records held by the Archives are subject to access restrictions.

Manuscript collections

Access to certain manuscript collections may be limited in accordance with any restrictions stipulated by the donor in the deed of gift.

University records

For University records, some restrictions are mandated by laws such as FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) while others are determined by the Archives in conjunction with the department or office of origin. See the detailed access policy for University records here.

Copyright and Use Policy

The LU Archives welcomes the use of materials in our collections for private study, scholarship, or research. When possible, we are happy to provide copies/reproductions for these purposes. Researchers should be aware that materials may be protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). The LU Archives does not hold the copyright for all materials in our collections and cannot grant permission to publish materials for which we do not hold the copyright.

Written permission from the copyright holders and/or other rights holders is required for publication, distribution, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use. Researchers obtaining reproductions of materials from our collections assume all responsibility for determining whether any permissions relating to copyright or any other rights are required for their intended use and for obtaining those permissions.

For more information, Society of American Archivists offers a helpful introduction to copyright and unpublished material.

Hours and location

The Archives is open by appointment only. Please contact us at or (920) 832-6753 to schedule a visit.

The Archives is located on Level B of the Seeley G. Mudd Library, between floors 2 & 3.

Search Collections

Our collections database contains descriptions (including box and folder inventories) of many collections held in the Archives, as well as selected digitized content.

If you have questions about our collections, please contact us at or (920) 832-6753, or fill out a request form.