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Archives & Special Collections: University Archives

The homepage for the Archives and Special Collections department of Musselman Library.


The University Archives is part of the Archives & Special Collections floor of Musselman Library, and houses the historic records of Bluffton University, which trace the institution back to its inception as Central Mennonite College in 1899.   Processed university records are generally open to research use; certain administrative records and records which sensitive personal information may be restricted or closed to research use.

The University Archives is best accessed by scheduling an appointment in advance of your intended date of visit so that we can prepare needed materials for your use and provide support for your research.

Digital Collections

Bluffton University Memory - Browse more than 1100 historic images selected and digitized from the Bluffton University Archives photograph collection.  Includes early team photos, campus life, student organizations, and more.  Search by keyword issues of The Witmarsum, Bluffton's student newspaper, from 1929 to 1955, as well as Messiah performance programs, images of artifacts, and more!

Interested in researching campus history?

Are you interested in focusing a research paper or project on some aspect of Bluffton University history? We recommend scheduling an appointment with Carrie Phillips, the Archives and Special Collections Librarian, to talk in more detail about your project idea. If you're interested, but not sure about what to write, here are some sources from our collection which might help:

WRITTEN HISTORIES: Consult the books that have been written about Bluffton University's history. Here's a list of their titles, complete with links into the library catalog. There are copies of each in the Reference section of the Archives and Special Collections floor.

YEARBOOK: Look through copies of the ISTA, the University's yearbook, to get a sense of some of the clubs, organizations, and other groups and activities that were happening on campus throughout the years.

Where do I find them? Copies of most issues are available by request at the Circulation/Info desk, and we have a complete set in the University Archives.

COURSE CATALOG: Look through copies of the college's course catalog, which used to be published as part of the Bluffton College Bulletin (see below) and later became a separate publication. Catalogs will list courses taught and will show costs for tuition, room, and board. Older catalogs often provided lists of current students, and most provide a list of faculty teaching at any given time.

Where do I find them? Copies of most issues are available by request at the Circulation/Info Desk, and we have additional copies for use in the Archives and Special Collections area.

STUDENT HANDBOOK: Look through copies of the student handbook, to get a sense of what campus life might have been like through the years, especially for first year students. Handbooks were produced by a number of different campus organizations; handbooks from recent history are produced by the Student Life office.

Where do I find them? You'll need to set up an appointment to browse these items - they're part of the University Archives collection.

CAMPUS PUBLICATIONS: Look through issues of campus publications, such as the Witmarsum (the university's student newspaper) and the Bluffton magazine (formerly the SCOPE and the Bluffton College Bulletin), to learn about newsmaking events involving the university and its students, faculty, staff, and administrators.

Where do I find them?  Some are searchable online inside Bluffton University Memory, and others are available by appointment in the University Archives collection.

Librarian Info

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Carrie Phillips
Musselman Library