Students, faculty, and other researchers are welcome to use the resources housed in the Carleton College Archives. Access to material is provided only through the assistance of Archives staff. Users must complete a brief registration in order to use archival material, and personal identification may be required. All material must be handled with care to ensure its preservation. All material must be used in the reading room: the collections do not circulate. Photocopying and other duplicating services are available.
The Carleton College Archives houses a wide variety of primary sources related to the College, members of its community, and related topics. These materials not only reflect the history of Carleton itself, but also reveal the way Carleton has been impacted by, and reacted to, changes and events in the broader society. Carleton faculty interested in using the College Archives for a class should contact the College Archivist, Tom Lamb, directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 507-222-5300.
The College Archives is available by appointment only Mondays-Fridays, 8am to 4pm. Visits can be arranged by emailing email@example.com or calling 507-222-4270.
Numerous topics may be researched completely or in part through resources available in the Carleton Archives. Records date from the college’s founding in 1866, and touch on subjects ranging from educational policy to gender issues to fundraising; athletics to oratory to town-gown relations; biography to demography, multiculturalism to missionaries, student traditions to student protest; campus development to campus religion to campus politics.
Access to certain records is restricted for specified amounts of time by federal law, college policy, or donor stipulation. In other respects, use of the collection is open to all persons equally, whether affiliated with Carleton College or not. Faculty and students are especially encouraged to utilize the archives as an educational resource where under-graduates may be exposed to techniques of research in primary sources. Students have successfully used the Carleton Archives in connection not only with history courses, but also in such fields as English, religion, botany, geology, economics, art, music, American studies, political science, education, sociology, environmental studies, Asian studies, African American studies, and women’s studies.
Detailed information about the holdings of the Carleton Archives is available upon request.
Institutional records which are especially rich in information include:
- proceedings of the Board of Trustees and subordinate committees
- records of the President’s office and of the various deans and other administrative officers (including correspondence, memoranda, annual reports, and subject files)
- minutes of the faculty, college committees, and task forces
- reports from the office of institutional research
- financial reports
- press releases and subject files from the Carleton News Bureau
Other frequently used material includes:
- biographical files concerning alumni, faculty, and administrative staff
- copies of most college publications (administrative and student, official and “underground”)
- records of student government and organizations
- maps and architectural records
- recordings of campus events such as convocation lectures, some concerts, or symposia
- and extensive photographs of campus life
Certain researchers will also wish to make use of the following:
- past student honors theses
- oral history interviews
- scrapbooks, diaries, and memorabilia
- or specialized collections such as:
- papers of specific faculty members
- records pertaining to the Carleton-in-China program
- the Thorstein Veblen collection.
The archives also maintains a file of student research papers written on Carleton topics.
The Carleton College Archives was established in 1967, as the college was concluding the celebration of its centennial year, with the appointment of Ruthmary B. Penick as the first College Archivist. It’s mission is to gather, preserve, and make available for reference and research use, documentation and information pertaining to the work, history, and development of Carleton College, or about programs, policies, activities, events, persons, or groups associated with the college. To that end it serves as the repository for all non-current official records of the college that have enduring and significant historical, administrative, or informational value. It also actively solicits and collects additional records, papers, publications, photographs and other relevant material from student organizations, faculty, alumni, or other persons outside of the college’s administrative structure.
Basic to the central functions of the Archives are the following core responsibilities:
- To determine the ultimate disposition of Carleton’s institutional records. Specifically, to select for archival preservation College records of enduring and significant informational value, and, conversely, to approve the timely disposal of those records without sufficient continuing legal, fiscal, administrative, or historical usefulness to justify the costs of maintaining them.
- To solicit and collect, within the parameters of the Archives’ written collecting policy, additional records, papers, publications, photographs, and other relevant material from student organizations, faculty, alumni, or other persons outside the College’s administrative structure.
- To establish and maintain systems of physical and intellectual control over archival collections, such that the records are physically protected and preserved against environmental and other hazards, as well as efficiently retrievable for reference and research use.
- To provide an array of informational and other services to all users, minimally including:
- opportunity to consult archival records (within the parameters of the Archives’ written policy on access),
- assistance and guidance as to the probable locations of desired information or as to the use of particular records, and
- responses to queries concerning the nature, extent, or content of archival records, or for specific pieces of information which are locatable in archival records without an excessive expenditure of staff time.
- To support the institutional mission of Carleton College by accommodating, where staff resources permit, special requests for active assistance in the preparation of institutional publications, programs, studies, exhibits or presentations, or in the undertaking of research to satisfy administrative informational needs, or in the planned instructional use of the Archives as an educational resource where students may be exposed to techniques of research in primary sources.
- To communicate knowledge and promote awareness about aspects of the history of Carleton College, especially among members of the Carleton community, but also in society at large, and to broaden knowledge and awareness about the College’s archival resources among potential users or donors of material.
The Carleton Archives will support remote learning and is available to assist with the use of our collections and to answer many of your reference questions. However, because of the nature of our materials, remote access may not be possible for many items.
Please contact us for more information:
Carleton College Archives
One North College Street
Northfield MN 55057 (map)