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Introduction to University Archives

Researching Cal Poly History

Using this Guide

This guide is designed to introduce researchers to resources on Cal Poly history. 

The information in this guide is separated into sections. Please use the tabs at the left to navigate to each section. 

  • Finding Primary Source Collections: A selection of archival collections containing records on frequently-researched campus topics. 
  • Campus Publications: Key publications produced by students, faculty, staff, and alumni, which provide contemporaneous accounts of campus events and activities.
  • Photographs, Audio Recordings, and Film/Video
  • Campus datasets and the Cal Poly Websites: Where to find datasets relating to Cal Poly and how to access previous versions of the Cal Poly websites
  • Senior Projects: How to search and access senior projects from 1942 - onward.
  • Secondary Sources: Books and other publications about Cal Poly history

After reviewing this guide, please contact a University Archives staff member if you need further assistance in locating additional resources.

About University Archives

The University Archives is part of Special Collections and Archives, a department of the Kennedy Library. The University Archives was established in 1978 as the official repository for the historical records of Cal Poly.

The department is located in Room 409 on the 4th floor of the library.

The staff of University Archives appraises, acquires, arranges and describes the University Archives collections for the purpose of preserving them and making them accessible to both the Cal Poly community and the larger research community for research and exhibition purposes.

The department maintains these research materials separately from Kennedy Library’s general stack collections due to their rare/unique qualities, physical condition, and/or format. Materials held in University Archives do not circulate outside the department.

Everyone is welcome

Special Collections and Archives welcomes all users to research with our unique archival collections.  To plan a visit please feel free to contact us 805-756-2305 or archives@calpoly.edu.

Type of Primary Sources You Will Find in the University Archives

The University Archives provides information on campus life, organizations, and activities; the physical campus, its facilities and the built environment; non-confidential information on faculty, administrators, staff and alumni; and campus lore and traditions.

Examples Include:

  • Papers of the Presidents
  • Land acquisition documents
  • Academic Senate records
  • Yearbooks and annuals
  • Course catalogs
  • Athletic Records, such as programs and media guides
  • Student clubs and organization records
  • Scrapbooks
  • Student Newspapers
  • Photographs

Click through the sections on the left to learn more about our collections.