The University Archives is the official repository for records of permanent administrative value created by the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus, and for materials of historical value related to university functions. The University Archives supports UMKC’s teaching, research, service, and administrative activities by collecting, managing, preserving, and providing access to archival, manuscript, audiovisual, electronic, print, and object collections related to the university’s history and traditions. The archives also document prominent faculty, staff, alumni, and supporters’ careers and activities. Records in University Archives date from 1895, beginning with the Lincoln and Lee University movement to establish a university in Kansas City, to the present. The archives’ mission is to ensure both current and future researchers will have access to UMKC historical resources to understand and interpret the university’s history and campus experiences.
The purpose of this policy is to outline the scope and rationale behind collecting at UMKC University Archives to:
- comply with the UM System Collected Rules and Regulations regarding the UMKC campus’s Archival Program;
- help UMKC campus administrative units to transfer documents and materials having perpetual administrative or historical value to the University Archives;
- assist in furthering and upholding UMKC University Archives’ mission, UM system campus archivists coordinated archival philosophy, and the professional standards of the library and archival community;
- aid University Archives, the Special Collections and Archives Division, and other library faculty and staff select materials in a way that is planned, realistic, cohesive, and tied to the institution’s resources and priorities; and
- inform the public of our selection priorities, and encourage the donation of materials which support UMKC University Archives’ mission and goals.
The UMKC University Archives primarily serves the following users:
- Administrative units that need ready access to their permanent records and historical material. These units include campus offices, schools, departments, centers, institutes, and organizations.
- Faculty, staff, and students who learn about the university’s history and use archival collections for research.
- Alumni who desire to reconnect with the university and its history and legacy.
- The broader research community that uses archival collections, including scholars and historians; teachers and students at all levels; artists; documentarians; and those interested in the university’s history.
UMKC University Archives collections are available to all researchers on equal terms. We serve in-person researchers and remote researchers who discover our resources online.
History of Collections
The University of Missouri System formed in 1963 when the University of Missouri at Columbia, the Missouri School of Mines at Rolla (now the Missouri University of Science and Technology), the University of Kansas City (which became the University of Missouri-Kansas City), and the University of Missouri-St. Louis merged under one state university system. The system appointed its first Director of University Archives in 1969. One year later, the UM System Board of Curators approved an archival program for the system.
UMKC University Archives was formally established in 1977 as an independently administered unit reporting to the Office of the University Provost. Its first University Archivist, Sharon Uhler, was appointed to the position in 1978. The Provost’s office originally housed the archives in the General Library. In 1985, Dr. Gordon Hendrickson was named Associate Archivist for University Archives alongside his title of Associate Director of the Western Historical Manuscripts Collection. The same year, the WHMC and UA moved to Newcomb Hall from the General Library. The Western Historical Manuscripts Collection was a joint collection housed with the State Historical Society of Missouri and was eventually absorbed into SHSMO in 2010.
In 2014, University Archives relocated physically and administratively to the University Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives Division, moving its operations to the Miller Nichols Library. The transfer includes one full time staff member who stewarded the archival collections until 2017. Curator of Special Collections and Archives Stuart Hinds took over the University Archivist title and its duties in 2018. He balanced University Archives duties on a part time basis with his curatorial duties. In 2022, Becky Briggs Becker joined the Special Collections and Archives Division as University Archivist. It is the first time since 1985 that a full-time archivist is dedicated to the University Archives unit. University Archives Assistant Coryell Deege joined the University Archives in 2023.
Beginning in 2023, the University Archives and the Marr Sound Archives will work together to preserve the audio and moving image material documenting the university’s history. The Marr Sound Archives will incorporate audio and moving image material into their collection holdings for preservation and digitization. The University Archives will preserve any print material related to university history found within the Marr Sound Archives.
UMKC University Archives’ primary responsibility is to support the university’s mission of promoting learning through the discovery, preservation, and dissemination of knowledge of public value. The department serves the research needs of university administration, faculty, staff, and students by supporting administrative informational needs, academic curricula development, research activities, historical exhibits, and community outreach activities.
The university archives collects administrative records of long-term value that are no longer regularly used for routine business in addition to archival materials that reflect the university’s history. These records reflect the university’s purpose, activities, and policies over time. The department will collect records and historical materials based on community needs, collecting strengths, collecting areas of improvement, condition, extent, and format.
UMKC University Archives is the official campus repository that preserves the university’s institutional memory dating from its founding to the present day. The department also collects materials documenting colleges and schools that merged with UKC or UMKC. The University Archives collects materials in physical and digital formats.
Further detail within these broadly outlined scopes, including current holdings, strengths, and collecting goals, is set out below.
Materials and Formats
UMKC University Archives will accept materials and formats addressed in the What to Keep section of Transferring Records to University Archives. The department accepts materials and formats in physical and digital form. Audio and moving image materials received with archival collections are incorporated into the Marr Sound Archives.
The geographic coverage for the collection focuses on UMKC’s location in the heart of Kansas City, Missouri. The Volker Campus is located south of Country Club Plaza and was the original home of the University of Kansas City. The Health Sciences Campus is located in an area known as Hospital Hill. The collection also includes records from the Harry S. Truman Campus that was located in Independence, Missouri and operated from 1974 up to the 2000s. A few records originate from the UM System, whose offices are located in Columbia, Missouri.
Dates of Coverage
The collection dates from 1895, beginning with the Lincoln and Lee University movement to establish a university in Kansas City, to the present. The collection includes materials from professional schools dating prior to their mergers with the university.
The collections are primarily written or recorded in English. Collections may include a variety of other languages including but not limited to Spanish, Italian, French, Arabic, Mandarin, Hebrew, and Yiddish. The University Archives will continue to collect primarily in English, but will consider collections with a portion of materials in other languages as they represent the population and communities of UMKC and the Kansas City region.
The subject areas listed below are meant as a general guide to the top collecting priorities, rather than an exhaustive list of all subjects covered in our collections. Some of these build on existing strengths in the collection, while others outline more recent acquisition initiatives for collecting areas we wish to develop.
The collection includes primary and secondary sources about the UMKC campus, its history, and its traditions. It includes documents from the Lincoln and Lee University movement, the University of Kansas City’s founding, and UKC’s merger with the University of Missouri system. Special formats that help illustrate campus history include photographs of people, academics, research, events, buildings, and campus features; campus memorabilia; and artifacts.
University Offices and Units
The collection includes office records and university created publications of permanent, administrative, and historical value related to university functions. Records include those of:
- active and inactive administrative offices and units;
- chancellors, presidents, and provosts;
- the Board of Trustees for UKC;
- men’s and women’s athletics
- University Libraries
- academic support offices
- the National Public Radio station
Schools and Departments
The collection holds primary and secondary sources about academic schools and departments of permanent, administrative, and historical value related to university functions. Office records include those of active and inactive schools and departments. They also include school and department created publications and materials with information on courses.
The collection contains select papers of prominent and/or notable faculty, staff, alumni, and supporters that document their careers and activities during and beyond their time at UMKC. The collection includes research, publications, and related materials from faculty members, adjuncts, instructors, and visiting professors. It also holds papers from alumni, former students, graduates, and non graduates. UMKC University Archives coordinates with LaBudde Special Collections, the Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America (GLAMA), and the Marr Sound Archives to ensure materials held in the University Archives complement collecting areas in our respective departments’ holdings.
University Affiliated Organizations
The collection contains primary and secondary sources that document the activities of active and inactive affiliated organizations on UMKC campus. These materials include office records and publications created by the affiliated organizations. UMKC University Archives coordinates with LaBudde Special Collections, the Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America (GLAMA), and the Marr Sound Archives to ensure materials held in the university archives complement collecting areas in our respective departments’ holdings.
UMKC University Archives collects archival material that illustrate students’ campus experiences at UMKC. Materials include those of affinity groups, student organizations, and their activities. They also include student-created publications and examples of student research, such as theses and dissertations, academic journals, and research projects. UMKC University Archives coordinates with LaBudde Special Collections, the Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America (GLAMA), and the Marr Sound Archives to ensure materials held in the university archives complement collecting areas in our respective departments’ holdings.
Categories of Record Creators
Categories of record creators include administrative offices; current and defunct academic units; affiliated organizations; faculty and staff governing groups; and student organizations.
The University Archivist identifies and acquires collection materials that fit the collecting scope, and is responsible for the general supervision and coordination of collection development and management activities. University Archives records are subject to UM System Records Retention Authorizations Policies. Records transferred to University Archives are deemed to have met permanent retention, have historical value, and are available for research use. The department will coordinate with originating offices and departments on campus to accept records. UMKC University Archives will solicit and accept donations from the university community and beyond via a legal transfer of title through a deed of gift. Purchases of historical collection material will only be considered in exceptional circumstances, such as for rare books and publications.
University Archives records are subject to UM System Records Retention Authorizations Policies. The University Archives will dispose of materials that do not reflect the above collecting scope, subject to documented terms of acquisition via deed of gift, university system regulations, and state and federal laws. The department will follow best professional practices and judgment as to the appropriate disposition method. Archival appraisal and acquisitions are iterative processes, influenced by an adaptable collection policy, that ultimately improve collections’ access over time.
The University Archives will retain a maximum of three copies of any item for preservation, digitization, and access purposes. Exceptions will be made based on items’ popularity, rarity, age, and condition.
University Archives records are subject to UM System Records Retention Authorizations Policies. UMKC University Archives will only accept donations and transfers through a legal transfer of title via a deed of gift, a transfer of records form, or other official acknowledgement.
UMKC University Archives will not accept materials:
- that come with special conditions or constraints the department cannot honor, such as “permanent” loans or deposits or materials that are closed to the public in perpetuity.
- if the donor’s legal ownership of the materials is uncertain.
- that require extensive processing or treatment, or pose major preservation hazards such as materials with mold, insect infestation, dampness, etc.
- that are photocopies or duplications of original materials from other institutions.
UMKC University Archives is housed under the UMKC University Libraries Special Collections and Archives (SCA) Division. The division’s archival collections includes the LaBudde Special Collections, the Marr Sound Archives, and the Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America (GLAMA), in addition to University Archives. Since UMKC’s history overlaps with that of Kansas City’s history, there will also be overlap in coverage in the SCA Division’s archival collections.
The UM System Campus Archives include UM System records and those located at the University of Missouri’s flagship campus at Columbia (UMC or MU); the Kansas City Campus (UMKC); the St. Louis Campus (UMSL), and the Missouri University of Science and Technology campus at Rolla (MS&T). University archivists at all campus locations and records management staff coordinate to collect records following a cohesive archival philosophy and an extensive records retention schedule and policy.
UMKC University Archives works to have strong relationships with other area repositories whose collecting missions complement and coincide with our own. These include, but are not limited to: the State Historical Society of Missouri-Kansas City Research Center; Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library; the Black Archives of Mid-America, Inc.; the Jackson County Historical Society; and the Johnson County Museum. University Archives staff will make referrals whenever possible when materials offered to the department that do not fall within our collecting scope may be appropriate for these repositories. Moreover, University Archives Collection priorities are informed by the collection strengths and priorities at these institutions.
We recognize that collecting focus may change over time in response to a variety of factors. In response to this, we will review this policy when a new version of the University Libraries Strategic Plan is issued.
Date of Policy & Author
First version: Becky Briggs Becker, 2022-2023
This policy was developed based on the “Collection Development Policy for Libraries, Archives, and Special Collections” from the Brooklyn Historical Society.
This policy is informed by the UMKC University Archives Collection Development and Management Report (2022-2023), the University of Missouri System Records Retention Authorizations and the Society of American Archivists Guidelines for College and University Archives.