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Cal Poly Research via University Archives

Researching Cal Poly

Searching for primary sources in University Archives (not digitized)

The University Archives includes over 100 collections with over 500 boxes of materials, and millions documents and objects. Many of the collections in the University Archives do not have an online presence. You can only find them in the Special Collections and Archives department in the Library. The staff of Special Collections and Archives are available to help you identify materials that would be helpful for your research.

The University Archives Register is the first place to start searching the University Archives, it lists the majority of the collections in the University Archives: Link to University Archives Register

Collection-level finding aids

Some of the collections listed in the Register have their own inventories. These inventories describe what is in the collection, to a box or folder-level description. 

Collections as they are processed are available on the Online Archive of California

Here are some of the collections in University Archives:

If you find a collection in University Archives that you would like to research, you can set up an appointment with the archives.

Presidential Records

The University Archives holds the records of the Cal Poly directors and presidents. 

There are especially large collections of the three presidents who served from 1933 - 2011. These collections have inventories that describe the materials to a folder level:

ASI Clubs and Organizations

There is a large collection of records documenting the activities of campus clubs and organizations. The bulk of the collection is focused on the 1950s-1970s. Browse the collection. 

Crime Statistics

Clery Report - Annual Security Report

University Archives also holds print copies of the Annual Safety Reports from 1999-2015. Request UA550.04 at the Special Collections service desk.

Archived online access via the campus Police Department:

Direct link to archived online access 2015 onward:*/

Campus Landscape and Buildings

The University Archives holds a wealth of material documenting the construction and layout of campus and buildings since 1903. 

This includes: 

  • Architectural drawings of campus buildings
  • Master Plan documents
  • Maps of campus
  • Land Use records
  • History of campus landscape
  • Historical research on campus buildings and sites
  • Historic photos and audiovisual materials documenting the campus

Helpful places to start: