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Special Collections is open to the public and located on the lower level of Ablah Library.

Although walk-ins are welcome, we encourage scheduling a research appointment.

Local History Resources

  • The Tihen Notes are a collection of searchable, transcribed notes from Wichita's major newspapers. Dr. Edward N. Tihen, a Wichita physician, historian and bibliophile, read and took notes from nearly every issue of Wichita's newspapers between 1872 and 1982. His voluminous notes reflect the people, places and events that shaped Wichita's history.
  • Dating from 1878 to 2004, the older city directories for Wichita are housed in Special Collections. The library's general stacks are where the most current directories are located.  We also have suburban directories for 1957-1977; the recent editions are in the stacks. Updated yearly, these directories contain information about the city and its residents, listing street addresses and occupations; its businesses through alphabetic and classified listings; and its schools, organizations, churches and history. Restricted to current WSU students, faculty and staff, electronic resources in HeritageQuest database include city directories.  
  • The map collection includes maps of Wichita and Sedgwick County, including some in digital formats.
  • A set of Sanborn Fire Insurance Company maps for Wichita, dating from 1935 with updates to 1957, are part of our local history resources.   These folio-sized sheets show Wichita at a large scale, detailing materials used in construction, interior arrangement, type of use, size and location of buildings. These maps illustrate a few blocks at a time for a specific time period.
  • Photographs and postcards comprise Wichita-related images in the collection. The Wichita Photo Archives showcase online a sampling of our Wichita-related photographs as do a number of our digital collections.  The images presented digitally represent a fraction of the holdings.
  • Materials documenting Fairmount College, University of Wichita and Wichita State University are housed in the University Archives.
  • Vertical files contain clippings and other documents arranged alphabetically by subject and are further divided into Kansas, Wichita and WSU categories.
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