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 Access to Special Collections is limited at this time due to construction. Please contact us with questions.

Collection Policy

In establishing any policy regarding the acquisition of materials the following factors must be considered.

  • Research programs at Wichita State University and users of Special Collections and University Archives.  The unit will support research interests at WSU by:
    • Developing existing strengths within its own collections
    • Identifying and filling gaps in the collections
    • Complementing the University Libraries' general collection
  • The collecting policies of other institutions, inside and outside Kansas.
    • The unit will be aware of the existing strengths of other institutions that duplicate or overlap this unit's collections.
    • The unit will avoid excessive competition or costly duplication of materials whenever possible.
  • The media, format, volume, and condition of materials.
    • The unit will consider the physical nature of the materials available for acquisition. Ordinarily, materials in formats for which the unit or library does not have the equipment necessary for information retrieval will not be acquired.
    • The unit will consider volume and physical condition in making collection determinations.
  • Limitations of financial and personnel resources
    • All special collections and manuscript repositories have an obligation to preserve and make available for research the materials they acquire.
    • Special Collections and University Archives takes this obligation seriously and will not indiscriminately acquire materials for which it does not have the resources to correctly house, process, access or preserve.

Taking the above factors into consideration, Special Collections and University Archives will observe the following collection policies for each collecting area:


  • Purpose and Scope
    • Special Collections and University Archives will acquire through purchase, gift, or general stack transfer, unique printed materials in established collecting areas, including, but not limited to, the following:
      • Retrospective works relating to the intellectual, social, political, and economic aspects of local, Kansas, and regional history
      • The Arkansas River Valley
      • Hypnotism and Mesmerism
      • History of aviation in Wichita and Kansas, with secondary selections of general aviation history and development
      • History of printing and books
      • Books, magazines, and broadsides by and about W. H. Auden
      • Books by and about the U.S. Sanitary Commission
      • Books about the abolition of slavery in the United States, with a special emphasis on books by and about William Lloyd Garrison and his associates
      • Books about the history and culture of Indians in the region
    • Printed materials that are unique or of high monetary value will be transferred from the general stacks to Special Collections.
    • Emphasis will be placed on retrospective acquisitions, but not to the exclusion of materials currently available. Materials already being received through normal acquisitions procedures will not be acquired by Special Collections, except for those items considered to be key reference sources or small editions of locally produced books on town and business histories.
  • Physical Format
    • Acquisitions will be generally limited to published materials.
    • As new methods of information storage are introduced, examples may become part of the history of printing collection.
  • Language
    • The predominant language of the collection is English.
    •  Materials in other languages are collected.


  • Purpose and Scope
    • Special Collections and University Archives will acquire through purchase and gift unpublished materials that complement existing holdings and which offer new opportunities for original research. While 19th century materials will continue to be sought, special emphasis will be placed on the acquisition of 20th and 21st century materials. Collecting areas include, but are not limited to, the following:
      • The intellectual, social, political, and economic aspects of local, state, and regional history
      • The Arkansas River Valley
      • Comprehensive collecting of aviation history in Wichita and Kansas with secondary interest in general aviation history and aviation during World War I and World War II
      • W. H. Auden and associates
      • The U.S. Sanitary Commission
      • William Lloyd Garrison and his associates
      • The U.S. Civil War, especially with references to Kansas or Kansans
  • Physical Format
    • Acquisition will include the following printed formats:
      • Original correspondence
      • Diaries
      • Reports
      • Journals
      • Photographs
      • Literary manuscripts
    • Acquisition of non-print materials will include these formats:
      • Sound recordings
      • Video tapes
      • Films
      • Machine-readable records
      • Drawings


  • Purpose and Scope
    • Special Collections and University Archives will acquire through purchase and gift maps and atlases that depict the current state of Kansas and the geographical area that would become the state of Kansas.
    • Important maps that depict discovery and exploration in the western United States will be sought as a secondary collecting field.
  • Physical Format
    • Acquisitions will be in printed and manuscript formats.


  • Purpose and Scope
    • Special Collections and University Archives is the official repository for the archives of Wichita State University in all its manifestations.
    • The University Archivist will work with individual university offices for the orderly transfer of records to the archives and the appropriate disposal of non-archival university records.
  • Physical Format
    • Archival records may include printed documents in the following formats:
      • Manuscripts
      • Publications
      • Photographs
      • Posters
      • Correspondence
    • Non-printed archival records may include:
      • Films
      • Video tapes
      • Machine-readable formats
      • Sound recordings
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