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Burns Library - University Archives

Mission/Purpose | User Profile | Facilities | Services | Resources |
Research Guides

The Boston College University Archives was formally established in 1975 as the official repository for non-current University records having permanent historical, legal, fiscal, or administrative value. The primary mission of the University Archives is to identify, collect, preserve, arrange, and describe records documenting the history of administrative and academic units and the activities of Boston College faculty, staff, and students. In addition, the Archives serves as a records consultant to administrative offices and as an information resource on the history and development of the University.

User Profile
Users of the University Archives come from a wide range of backgrounds and include scholars, graduate and undergraduate students, school alumni, journalists, and college administrators. Though the Archives is open to anyone, permission is required to access some collections.

The University Archives is situated in the John J. Burns Library of Rare Books and Special Collections. The Archives makes use of the reading room of the Burns Library, and has access to the Conservation Lab and other office areas. Technological resources of the library are also available, including networked computers, a scanning station, color printers, and audio-visual equipment. While most archival collections are housed in the Burns Library, others reside off-site at the New England Deposit Library.


Records Surveys/Consultation
University Archives staff conduct on-site records surveys for departments and offices on campus. The survey seeks to identify materials that have long-term historical, administrative, legal, or fiscal value so that they may be preserved. Boston College staff who have non-current records in their areas should contact the Archives to arrange for a records survey.

Controlled Environment Storage
The University Archives offers a secure environment in which to house non-current records of the University. It also has access to the services of the Burns Library Conservator and the Conservation Lab. In cases where special environmental controls are necessary, e.g. cold storage, the Archives seeks out possible solutions with outside vendors.

As resources and time allow, staff of the University Archives arrange and describe the materials in their care. Processing includes organizing collections if necessary and creating inventories or finding aids to improve access. Offices and departments receive copies of inventories relating to their areas.

Most research inquiries relating to the University Archives are channeled through the Reading Room of the Burns Library. Archives staff work closely with the Senior Reference Librarian and other staff members to respond to questions. In some cases, University Archives staff respond directly to the inquiries of researchers. Reference services are conducted via postal mail, e-mail, fax, and telephone. University Archives staff ask researchers to make appointments before coming to the library.

University Archives News is published each semester to share information with the Boston College community. Staff of the Archives also mount exhibits for anniversaries and other occasions, and give presentations to classes and groups about the holdings in the Burns Library.

The University Archives documents the history and activities of Boston College from its founding in 1863 to the present. Of special note are holdings in the following areas:

Governance and Committee Records
Consists of records created by the governing bodies and committees of Boston College. Documentation of the Board of Trustees, and various University-wide committees functioning since 1972, is especially good.

Administrative Office Records
Most of the records in the University Archives fall into the category of administrative records. These include records of Boston College organizations, departments, and offices. Executive offices like the President's Office, the Executive Vice President's Office, and the Academic Vice President are well documented. Strong collections are also available for most of the professional schools of the University (particularly the College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Nursing, the School of Education, and the School of Management), the Athletics Department, and selected other offices.

Theses and Dissertations
The University Archives houses a complete collection of all honors and masters theses, as well as doctoral dissertations in paper form. More recent years are available as microfiche copies in O'Neill Library.

Student Organizations Records
Though substantial gaps exist in this area, there are still several useful collections. Important student publications, such as The Stylus, The Heights, and The Observer, are available. Also of note are administrative records of organizations like the Mendel Club, the Gold Key Society, and the Dramatics Society.

Personal Papers
Personal papers include faculty, staff, student, and alumni papers. Though occasionally such collections have administrative records, they consist mainly of personal materials. Among these materials are items which document activities at Boston College, or, in the case of faculty and alumni papers, which document the work of individuals who are well-respected in their fields, and who have strong records of service to Boston College and the larger community. Many Jesuit faculty collections have been preserved. Of special note are the faculty collections of Benedict Alper, Heinz Bluhm, John Louis Bonn, Lewis Coser, Everett C. Hughes, John McAleer, Robert J. McEwen, and Francis Sweeney.

Boston College-Related Materials
These are made up of the records of committees, organizations, and institutions which are not technically part of the administration of Boston College, but which enjoy a close relationship with the University. The most significant collections in this area are those relating to the Boston College Jesuit Community and the Newton College of the Sacred Heart.

Research Guides
The University Archives Research Guide presents some of the key sources available for the study of Boston College and its history.



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