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University Archives: Primary Sources

The University Archives contains records of the University of Denver (DU) from its founding in 1864 to the present. These records include those of both active and inactive University departments, athletic programs, faculty research, and much more.


Primary sources are materials containing firsthand accounts of events which were created contemporaneous to those events or later recalled by an eyewitness.

Examples include letters; oral histories; photographs, motion pictures, and videos; and newspaper articles contemporaneous with the events described (although the reporter may have compiled the story from witnesses, rather than being an eyewitness).

Adapted from: Richard Pearce-Moses, A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology, Society of American Archivists, 2005.

Photograph Collections

Photographs are wonderful primary sources. The strongest areas of photographic holdings in the University Archives are:

  • University of Denver faculty, students, and other individuals associated with DU - arranged alphabetically in our "University of Denver Biographical Files," which are available on-site only.
  •  Our "University of Denver Historical Photograph Collection." A portion of this collection has been digitized and is available online. It includes:
    • University of Denver campus departments, offices, and organizations.
    • University of Denver traditions.
    • University of Denver buildings.

When working with photographs, you should be prepared for/aware of a few things:

  • You may be asked to wear gloves to protect the chemical surface of the photograph from the oils of your fingertips.
  • Copyrighted photographs are mixed in with photographs for which the University of Denver owns the copyright. This can be an issue if reproductions are desired for other than personal use.
  • Not all photographs are dated. This can be frustrating; sometimes detective work can help you (what vintage are the cars? what buildings are in the photograph? what people, and what are their life dates?, etc.). We can help with this - just ask!
  • When using a photograph for research, consider: what was just beyond the frame of this photo? who took the photo and did they have an agenda? are the details informative?

Chancellor's Papers Finding Aids

Office Records

Records of University of Denver offices are primarily closed to researchers from outside the records' office of origin; however, researchers can request permission to access specific files. It is often best to start this phase of your research by talking to archives staff. Send us an e-mail at or give us a call at 303-871-3428.

Faculty and Alumni Papers

Faculty and alumni papers more closely represent personal papers than office records. These collections -- sometimes volumnious and at other times quite small -- document the personal experiences of various aspects of life, work, and academic pursuits at the University of Denver.

Some of these papers can be found through the catalog, while others are not yet catalogued. When in doubt, please contact the archives staff and ask!

Below are finding aids for notable faculty papers:

Newspapers, Magazines, and Yearbooks

Librarian Profile

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Katherine Crowe