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University historical materials collection

Identifier: RG0031

Collection Scope and Content

Materials in this collection include student records, blueprints, audio tapes, cassette tapes, invitations, speeches, diplomas, newspapers, photographs and negatives, plat maps, academic costumes, scrapbooks, artifacts, charters, and awards. They date from 1821-2012. They were transferred to the University Archives through various campus offices and individuals. Note that not all series have been fully processed. Please contact staff for assistance.


  • Creation: 1821-2012

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Restrictions on Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Historical Note

This collection was created in January 2005 as a way of bringing together a number of small accessions that had never been assigned to a specific record group in The George Washington University Archives. Some of these accessions represent excellent documentation of the early years of the University, both in written and visual form. These include early land holdings, 19th century newspaper accounts of the early college, Civil War records copied form the National Archives, as well as the first student newpapers. Many are surmised to have come from the office of University Historian Elmer Louis Kayser, who was associated with the University as a student and faculty member from 1914-85.

In 2016 and 2017, with the reprocessing of the Office of the President records, some series of photographs and memorabilia were moved into RG0031, and some series and boxes of records from the office of the president were moved into RG0002, resulting in the current series numbering.

Also in 2017, a significant number of artifacts of minimal research value were deaccessioned.


95.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



This collection include photos, diplomas, invitations, newspapers, early land holdings, 19th century newspaper accounts of the early college, Civil War records, and memorabilia.

Collection Organization

Organized in 28 series, numbered 1-7 (two series are numbered 2 and two are numbered 6), 9-20, 24, 25, 31, 33, 34, 37, and 53. Photographs are located in series 1, 2, 33, and 34. Early college records are located in series 3. Audio and video recordings are located in series 4 and 20. The remaining series contain former veritcal files, memorabilia, artifacts, newspapers, scrapbooks, awards, and other miscellanea.

Acquisition Information

Materials acquired through transfers from campus offices and gifts from donors.

Processing Information

During some clean up work in 2018 the content of box 244 was combined with the content in box 240. Now the collection does not have a box 244.

Guide to the University Historical Material records, 1821-2012
University Archives, Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Repository

George Washington University Gelman Library
2130 H Street NW
Washington DC 20052 United States of America