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University of Colorado Ephemera collection

Identifier: COU:3817

Scope and Contents

The University of Colorado Ephemera Collection is an outgrowth of an effort to create university archives collections from mailings and distributed documents from a wide array of university administrative and academic offices. The collection contains newsletters, reports, fliers, pamphlets, posters and publications. The twenty scrapbooks contained in the collection cover the period 1892 to 1973. Please note that materials that pertain to the Vice Chancellor of Academic Services was renamed the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs sometime in the 1970s


  • 1892 - 2000
  • Majority of material found within 1953 - 2000

Biographical / Historical

Between 1935 and 1959, the History Department shared administrative responsibility with the University Library for the Historical Collections. Dr. Eckhardt, chair of the History Department and Libraries Director Ellsworth agreed to divide responsibilities. After the History Department’s “Historical Collections” moved into Norlin Library after 1940, the collections began receiving more attention from Library administrators. One of the areas of concern for the Director of Libraries, Eugene H. Wilson, was the creation of an archive for University of Colorado records. While the Historical Collections had already amassed a set of master’s theses, dissertations, and bound University publications, which they termed the "Archives Collection," no attempt had been made to acquire manuscript materials. Director Wilson however had a broader vision. In 1953, he wrote the Dean of Faculties, Walters F. Dyde, to urge "the establishment of a definitive policy" regarding archival matters and the creation of a University Archives. In this pursuit, he suggested the appointment of a member of the History Department to the task of surveying the categories of University records. He also suggested the gathering of the official records, minutes and papers of student organizations, officers, faculty, and teaching staff; University publications of all types; and a historical collection pertaining to University history from a variety of sources. Wilson believed the University would grow at an unprecedented rate in the future and the time to establish an archive to collect University records was at hand, before such growth rendered archiving difficult. However, no further academic action was ever taken to officially designate the Historical Collections a university archives or establish an inclusive records management program in which an archives was included. Lacking the abiding interest of History Department faculty, administrative staff, the President's Office, or the Board of Regents, Library proposals regarding the establishment of a University Archives would encounter indifference.

In the face of campus inaction, and in order to provide service to those seeking information of the campus and its offices, the libraries would later direct the renamed “Western Historical Collections” to collect and house copies of university publications and such university records as could be solicited. Yearly requests for records were mass mailed to campus offices. Since few offices preferred to part with their files, and without official status or administrative sanction, acquisitions were slow and spotty. Large administrative acquisitions had to wait for the storage space to become exhausted, as well as for Fire Marshal directives. Often, instead of true archival transfers, administrators placed the Archives on their distribution lists, and documents, reposts announcements, fliers, and newsletters began to arrive.

In order to provide information as widely as possible on campus offices, small collections were made for each office sending materials. These materials were used as reference files until actual archival files arrived from those offices. Between 1967 and 1998, mailings and distributed materials were filed in these collections in an ad hoc manner. The scope of the collection continued to increase during this time.

In 1994, since efforts to promote either a designated university archives or a thorough records management system continued to meet with little interest, the renamed “Archives” stopped including “university archives” in its mission description. In addition, the compiling of ephemera into pseudo-archival collections was no longer deemed a proper archival practice, and accepting and saving such mailings ceased in 2000.

In 2014, these materials were drawn together into a single collection.


120 linear feet : 164 boxes

Language of Materials



Between 1968 and the 1990s, the Western Historical Collections was designated the “university archives” by the University Libraries, without an official designation by the University Administration or the creation of records management system. The University of Colorado Ephemera Collection is an outgrowth of an effort to create university archives collections from mailings and distributed documents from a wide array of university administrative and academic offices. The collection contains newsletters, reports, fliers, pamphlets, posters and publications.


The collection is divided into eleven broad sections corresponding to the divisions of the unprocessed collection. Given the haphazard way this collection was gathered there is often little correspondence between items within the same broad section. These divisions are as follows: Series 1. Central Administration; Series 2. Institutes and Centers; Series 3. Vice Chancellor of Administration and Planning; Series 4. Vice Chancellor of Faculty; Series 5. School of Business; Series 6. Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs and Services; Series 7. College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Series 8. Institute of Behavioral Genetics, Series 9. General Subjects; Series 10. Scrapbooks; and Series 11. Oversized materials.

Please note that box 160 was not included in the numbering sequence.

Physical Location

Located at offsite storage (PASCAL). Allow at least 5 days for delivery. Contact for questions and requests.

Noah Crocker; Uploaded to ArchivesSpace by Jennifer Sanchez 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository

1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States