University Archives

About Us

Chartered by King William III and Queen Mary II on February 8, 1693, William & Mary is the second oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The purpose of the University Archives is to collect, describe, preserve, and make accessible the records of the institution with historical and information value, from its founding to the present, regardless of format.

The majority of original records were destroyed by fire in 1705, 1859, and 1862. Records were also lost during both the American Revolution and the Civil War. The majority of the surviving records date from the late 19th century forward, although some 17th- and 18th-century documents, artifacts, and images do still exist.  

What We Have

The material held in the University Archives includes official records created in the course of daily operations in both analog and born-digital formats, records of student organizations, university and student publications, theses and dissertations, honors theses, alumni scrapbooks and papers, select faculty papers, video and audio recordings, and photographs.

What We Collect

  • University Records: Institutional records of historical and informational value, including wm.edu web pages.

  • Faculty Papers: Due to space and limited resources, we cannot collect the papers of every W&M faculty member. To be considered for permanent retention in the Archives, the papers should reflect the individual faculty member's substantial administrative role, university interest, or university impact. 

  • Alumni/Alumnae Papers: Personal papers and memorabilia on an individual’s time and activities at William & Mary and/or their continued relationship with the university.

  • Published Works:  Books and publications about William & Mary.

  • Examples of the Types of Material We Collect: Letters/correspondence (including email), diaries and journals, scrapbooks, photographs, audio and video records of campus events, flyers and posters from events and activities, memorabilia from student organizations and clubs, and artifacts.

  • Examples of the Types of Material We Do Not Collect: Drafts of publications, student records (such as assignments or graded work), experimental research data, books or other publications (including but not limited to journals, magazines, reprints, off-prints, and pre-prints) not about William & Mary.

Records Management

The University Archivist serves as the Public Records Officer for the William & Mary campus, providing authorization and assistance for records management. The university is subject to the records retention schedules for state agencies.