Archives and Special Collections

Welcome to Archives and Special Collections at Wellesley College.



As the repository of diverse historical collections and institutional documentation, Wellesley College Archives and Special Collections has a mission to encourage inquiry and intellectual exchange, critical thinking, and knowledge building through an active engagement with rare and unique materials such as early printed books, manuscripts, contemporary limited editions, historical artifacts, personal and professional papers, and college documents.



Archives and Special Collections envisions itself as a window to the thought and achievement of the past and a place for exploration, discovery, and learning through encouragement of innovative research and interdisciplinary education. Archives and Special Collections staff bring professional expertise to engage the college community in a process of discovery through ensuring access, preservation, and a hands-on classroom experience.



Access. We ensure the widest possible access to all materials to the Wellesley College faculty, students, staff, alumnae, and to domestic and international researchers.

Excellence. We serve the Wellesley College community through collecting, preserving, and making available the extensive and valuable historical collections and enriching the liberal arts education through engagement with specialized materials in a small seminar setting.  

Expertise. We offer expert knowledge of the professional field, experience, and skills for building, managing, preserving, ensuring access and interpreting the collections to the Wellesley College community and outside researchers.

Teaching. We contribute to the curriculum by teaching a full credit course based in Special Collections. We host visiting classes across all departments in the humanities, advising faculty on using collections, selecting books and other materials for their classes, and advising students in their quest for knowledge and career building.

Collaboration. We actively promote collaboration with appropriate partners within and beyond Wellesley College: working with the Wellesley College administrative and academic departments, faculty and staff, and alumnae and their families in identifying, collecting, preserving, and sharing historical materials; creating course assignments and exercises based on primary-source materials; designing exhibitions collaboratively with the Davis Museum; and, developing most effective, standard-based digitization projects across the College community and with other institutions and organizations in order to expand access to primary sources and unique materials.

Learning. We actively promote the development and growth of a Book Studies Program to ensure the maximum benefit to the diverse Wellesley community from the extensive primary source collections and to foster scholarly research and investigation, encourage discovery, critical thinking, and intellectual exchange among a broad spectrum of constituencies.

Preservation. We strive to preserve the valuable resources of Archives and Special Collections through expanding online access, maintaining a vigorous conservation program, and managing all aspects of the physical preservation of the collections.