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Cal Poly Research via University Archives

Researching Cal Poly History

Special Collections and Archives Updates during COVID-19

In light of COVID-19 and measures taken to protect the public and our staff, the Special Collections and Archives reading room is currently closed. 

Special Collections and Archives staff will continue to offer remote reference support. If you have questions, please contact us via email:

Schedule an online appointment: If you would like to meet virtually with Special Collections staff, you can set up an appointment at

Summer and Fall Quarter Archives Instruction Sessions: Special Collections and Archives is offering remote synchronous and asynchronous instruction for Summer and Fall Quarter 2020. Contact Laura Sorvetti at

Library updates: The library has put together an informational page on accessing library resources and services from remote locations.

Campus Update: For more information about COVID-19, its impact on Cal Poly, and further information about relevant governmental agencies providing reliable and up-to-date information about COVID-19, check out Cal Poly's COVID-19 webpage.

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.

Please contact University Archives if you need further assistance in locating additional resources


Phone: (805) 756-2305

Location: Fourth Floor, Kennedy Library, Room 409

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

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.