University of Hawaii at Manoa Library


University Archives


The University of Hawaii Archives documents the life, activities, and contributions of the institution of the University of Hawaii. As indicated by the vision statement of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the University strives for excellence in teaching, research, and public service, and so accordingly, the University Archives strives to document these three areas of excellence.

In 1968, with the approval of the State Archives, the University of Hawaii Archives became a separate unit within Special Collections, with the charge of collecting, preserving and making available to researchers the permanently valuable historical and legal records of the institution. Though the emphasis is on the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the Archives holds some records of the University System and of the various campuses within the System. The charge extends to the collecting of not just the records of the University but of its several offices, agencies and individuals.

"Records" are broadly defined to include material in any format, including unique manuscripts, photographs, maps, charts, audio tapes and disks, videos, prints, and other realia.

Areas of the Administration of the University which the Archives will seek to document include the President's Office, the Manoa Chancellor's Office, and Vice Presidents' and Vice Chancellors' offices. Other administrative offices contributing valuable records are the Budget Office and the Office of External Affairs and University Relations.

The Archives also seeks to obtain records of colleges, schools and research institutes, and even of some departments within the University, which document one or more of the areas of excellence. Examples of records from these agencies of the University which demonstrate such excellence and/or have shown enduring research value include those from the Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service and the Hawaii Agricultural Experiment Station within the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources; the records created by the Romanzo Adams Social Research Laboratory over the four decades of sociological studies it produced; the photographic record of the Department of Theatre and Dance; and the records of the College of Continuing Education and Community Service.

Under faculty, the University Archives collects records of the UH Manoa Faculty Senate and of various standing committees of the senate. The Archives accepts collections of papers from individual faculty members on a selective basis due to limitations on space and resources. Faculty papers which meet the following criteria may be selected for permanent historical retention in the UH Archives:

The University Archives also collects records of students in the following areas. Selected student organizations records showing significant participation in campus life make a valuable contribution to the Archives. In this area, for example, the Archives hold the records of the Associated Women's Students which was an important organization during the 1940s and 1950s. The Archives holds the records of the Bureau of Student Affairs. Records of the ASUH senate are also in the University Archives. Records of some clubs and associations are at time selected for inclusion into the Archives. Finally, though significantly, individual student papers documenting a student's life at the University are welcome additions. These range from examples of scholarly work a student did at the University to scrapbooks, photographs, even realia of their student days.


Although the University has a Records Management Officer, the records which go through that office are only a select few, governed by state records schedules for retention in the State Record Center in Mapunapuna until destruction. These records do not come to the University Archives and are not saved.

Generally, published works by the University are acquired by the Hawaiian Collection where they are cataloged using the Library of Congress call number system. Among these are the student newspaper, Ka Leo O Hawaii; official University catalogs and course schedules; budgetary and planning publications; and faculty off-prints. A collection of the University of Hawaii Press publications is also maintained in the University Archives. Exceptions to this have emerged from the need for some of these publications for use by researchers and/or for Archives staff, leading to the Archives collecting the ASUH yearbook, Ka Palapala; some literary magazines; and the University and college catalogs.


Language: No limitations exist, though the records are primarily in English.

Chronological: Primarily from the founding of the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in 1907 to date. Some exceptions to this beginning date occur. What is now the College of Education began as a separate institution, first receiving official government recognition in 1895, and eventually becoming known as Territorial Normal School. Territorial Normal School became part of the University of Hawaii in 1931. The Hawaii Agricultural Experiment Station was founded in 1901, before the creation of the College of Agriculture. This agency has been part of what is now the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources of the University since 1938. Moreover, some collections from faculty and staff research may also include 19th century material.

Geographic: Limited only by the boundaries of the University of Hawaii System, and the extension throughout the state to include UH Manoa campus, off-campus research and teaching facilities affiliated with the UHM programs, affiliated faculty, staff and students statewide and to a lesser extent, programs at the other UH campuses.

Date of Publication: No limitations apply; archival materials, however, are primarily unpublished manuscript materials. The emphasis, because the institution began in 1907, is primarily 20th century and will continue into the 21st.

Types and Formats of Materials Collected: The Archives collects all formats within the other parameters of its collection.

Treatment: No limitations.

Special Considerations

Archival material is by definition unique. Acquisition, processing, storage, and use of these materials all require special policies and procedures. Processing needed to prepare archival collections for use by patrons takes an enormous amount of time compared to preparing most library research materials for public use.

Compiled by: James Cartwright
Date: June 2008

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