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You may chat with a librarian at any time. If someone in the Archives Department is available, you will be transferred there. If not, the Archives will e-mail you a response later.

Archives Home > About: Overview of Collections

Overview of Collections

The Archives Department has the two-fold mission of documenting the history of UWM and providing access to primary sources, largely from the metropolitan Milwaukee area, that have long-term research and instructional value for UWM academic programs. We also respond to the information needs of researchers worldwide, provide instruction sessions for UWM courses, host an annual lecture on local history, and display our holdings on campus and in the community.

The Archives serves the university's historical needs by preserving and making accessible the records of UWM and its predecessor institutions. We acquire records from all levels of the university, including administrative and governance units; schools, colleges, and academic departments; athletic programs; and student organizations. The Archives also has a rich photograph collection, blueprints for most campus buildings, student newspapers, a complete run of yearbooks from 1896 to 1968, athletic films, and taped interviews with campus administrators. To assist in the preservation of UWM's history, we administer the campus records management program.

The Archives supports research and instruction at UWM by providing access to historically significant papers and records created or collected by individuals and organizations in the course of their activities. Collection strengths pertain to the following subject areas:

  • Social justice, including peace activism, anti-discrimination and civil liberties, health, political and economic action, and community action/neighborhood revitalization.
  • Racial, ethnic, and other underrepresented populations in Milwaukee, including the Polish, Jewish, African American, Latino, and Native American communities. We also have extensive holdings pertaining to the history of Milwaukee women and Milwaukee's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities.
  • Milwaukee's brewing industry, as represented in the records of the Blatz Brewing Company, the Pabst Brewing Company, the A. Gettelman Brewing Company, and the Milwaukee Brewers' Association.
  • The historical development of the archives profession in the United States, as represented in the records of the Society of American Archivists and the Midwest Archives Conference.

Significant individual collections include the WTMJ-TV news film collection (1950-1980), the largest surviving body of television news footage in Wisconsin; the Roman B.J. Kwasniewski photograph collection, documenting Milwaukee's Polish south side from 1911 to 1947; the records of Milwaukee Mayor Henry Maier; and the editorial files of the Little Review magazine.

The Archives provides further access to primary sources by serving as an Area Research Center (ARC) of the Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS). The Milwaukee ARC Collection includes birth, death, marriage, naturalization, probate, and property records for Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Sheboygan, Washington, and Waukesha counties. By participating in this statewide network of ARCs, the Archives is able to provide local access to the holdings of the WHS and other ARCs via the ARC transfer system.

Finally, the Archives maintains a reference collection of published sources that relate to its archival holdings and manuscript collections. It includes histories of area communities, businesses, organizations, and churches.

The Archives is open to all UWM faculty, staff, and students, as well as the general public. No special permission or letters of reference are required. Individuals wishing to use our materials must complete a registration form and present a valid photo ID. Materials must be used in our reading room and may not be checked out. Most collections may be temporarily transferred to another Area Research Center.

Comments or questions for the Archives? Send them to Ask an Archivist or call (414) 229-5402.