The University Archives & Special Collections is located on the 2nd floor of the University Library. With so many unique and interesting items, we decided to highlight our collection and define important terminology on this page. Check back every other week for updated entries!
Archival repositories collect, preserve, and make accesible unique, original material (e.g. documents, files, letters, photographs) created or collected by a particular individual, family or organization.
The primary mission of a college or university archives is to identify, preserve and make available records that document the history and administration of the school. These include departmental records, university and student publications, theses and dissertations, photographs, memorabilia, architectural plans, and more. The bulk of the material held in the RWU Archives focuses on the school’s history since moving to Bristol in 1969.
The RWU Archives also houses two outside collections: the papers of the Roger Williams Family Association and bound back issues of the Bristol Phoenix newspaper.
When the University Archives receives new material, whether it be from a campus office or an outside gift, an accession record is created, summarizing the transfer of the material (both physical and intellectual control) to the Archives. During the 2012-2013 academic year, the University Archives accessioned two gifts from the community. In the fall we received the Anne “Pete” Baker Collection from her daughter Sarah. The collection includes research-related material regarding historic houses in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In the spring we accepted the George T. Downing Correspondence from Daniel Tartaglia, featuring letters to Downing from William Lloyd Garrison and Ambrose E. Burnside.
The Bristol Phoenix was first published in 1833 as The Bristol Gazette and is still published today. The newspaper provides a unique view into the history and political and social activities of the town of Bristol, Rhode Island.
Roger Williams University Library, in cooperation with Rogers Free Library, the Bristol Historical and Preservation Society, and Rhode Island Historical Society, received funding from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities (RICH) to digitize issues from 1837-1853. The digitized newspapers are freely available online along with an index covering the years 1834-1873 created by the Bristol Historical and Preservation Society.