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Stanford University Archives: What We Collect

The Stanford University Archives is the official repository for records of Stanford University and serves as its institutional memory.

What We Collect

The Stanford University Archives collects materials in all formats documenting the administrative, intellectual, cultural, and social history of Stanford from its founding to the present. The Archives serves as the principal repository for institutional records, faculty and personal papers, publications, associated organization records, and historical materials.

All materials relevant to Stanford University and the Stanford family are collected, regardless of treatment, format, or publication date. These can include history, biography, current information, fiction, drama, poetry, criticism, essays, bibliographies and reference works, statistical compilations, and reports.

The University Archives collects materials regardless of format, including electronic records. 

Types of material and format include:

  • Manuscripts and archival records of members of the Stanford faculty, administration, and staff
  • Archival records of schools, offices, centers, and student organizations
  • Digital files (e.g. email, computer files, websites, social media, research data, data sets)
  • Photographs and negatives, slides, and other illustrative materials (e.g. drawings, etchings, watercolors)
  • Maps and architectural drawings
  • Prints and posters
  • Reports, surveys, committee records and minutes
  • Technical reports
  • Lab notebooks
  • Dissertations and theses completed by Stanford graduates; honors theses by undergraduates
  • Audio and video materials
  • Oral histories
  • Scrapbooks and albums
  • Monographs, monographic series
  • Journals and other serial publications
  • Select artifacts and ephemera (including brochures, leaflets, pamphlets)


Please see the Transferring Materials page for more information on what the Archives collects from faculty, staff, and alumni.

What We Do Not Collect

Because we have full runs of the Stanford Quad and the Daily Palto Alto / Stanford Daily, we no longer collect these publications.

Likewise, due to their general availability, we do not collect newspapers and popular journals published in the United States that contain coverage of Stanford University.

We also do not typically collect the following materials:

  • Drafts of writings (including grant documents) in which substantive and important edits are not included and a final document exists
  • Course guides
  • Student handbooks
  • Most popular campus serial publications for which we already have complete holdings
  • Commencement programs
  • Directories
  • Reprints, including other people’s reprints
  • Subject files (unless filled with original research, correspondence, or notes)
  • Artifacts, including objects, framed awards, diplomas, and regalia
  • Furniture
  • Clothing, including “Stanford Indian” mascot materials
  • Diplomas
  • Nitrate film 
  • Letterhead and other form letter blanks
  • Materials we are likely to acquire the record copy of elsewhere (such as in the Office of the President records)
  • Human remains
  • Medical records
  • Student recommendations
  • Staff or student employee records
  • Any information that the University identifies as high-risk
  • Protected legal records
  • Records produced by a federal agency or government printing office that would be collected by the National Archives or Library of Confress
  • Dissertations that were overseen by faculty whose papers we collect
  • Paper materials that duplicate materials shared with us digitally