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Instruction and Research in OU Archives and Special Collections


The Oakland University Archives and Special Collections provide access to a range of unique historical collections that can be used as primary sources for academic research or that can be integrated into classes and assignments.


Research in the collections

These collections can provide primary sources for undergraduate students writing capstone papers and any undergraduate or graduate students in search of unique and interesting research topics that are easily accessible on campus.

Primary sources provide firsthand evidence of a historical topic – such as an event, person, place, or debate.  They are typically original sources created at or near the time of the event being described. Primary sources can be seen as “raw data” for analyzing and interpreting the past.

The University Archives contain records created by university departments, employees, and students since its founding in 1957. For example, the archives have

  • the papers of all past university presidents, provosts and senior administrators;
  • the records of departments and schools, administrative offices and programs;
  • all university newsletters and magazines;
  • the full archive of the student newspaper (the Oakland Post and its predecessors) and other student publications;
  • a large collection of photographs;
  • audio and video recordings;
  • maps;
  • and much more!

Special Collections contain rare books and manuscripts documenting the history of Oakland County and Michigan, as well as other topics relevant to research in history, English, political science, art history, theatre, women and gender studies, and other disciplines. Topics include:

For suggested examples of research topics and collections that can be used to write about them, see  the library guide on Research topics on Oakland University history.


Class visits

Archives and Special Collections staff welcome class visits to our reading room and can help faculty integrate primary sources into their instruction.

Archivists and librarians offer a range of instructional services. They can:

  • Provide tours and orientations to the archives spaces and collections, and offer basic instruction on visiting archives and handling archival materials and rare books;
  • Work with teaching faculty and suggest collections for use in instruction, or even help faculty to create assignments using special collections and archives holdings;
  • Come to a class to offer tips on how to organize and preserve notes and photographs that beginning researchers take during visits to other archival institutions.


To schedule a class visit or instruction session in Archives and Special Collections, please contact Dominique Daniel.

Created by Name / Updated on March 1, 2019 by Name

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