As many students and researchers know, the Special Collections Research Center houses the records of numerous student groups and myriad forms of documentation of University events. These collections tell the stories of organizations and document the history of the institution, but the Student Papers and Ephemera Collection is a unique, on-going, first-hand record of the student experience. It contains course notes, event tickets and programs, souvenir items, and the written and recorded reminiscences of students dating from 1908.
There are U of C postcards with locations fancifully (or wishfully) re-labelled “Washington Monument” and “Waikiki Beach.” There are readouts of canine vital signs collected by students in a lab and students’ notes and drawings. Because the materials in the collection were donated by individual alumni, they give a first-person account of student life, telling us what students did, what they learned, and what they considered worth saving.
The Library is always accepting donations of material from students and alumni, and so the picture of student life that emerges from the collection is formed by students of yesterday and today. It is a collection but also a collective: an amalgamation of individual voices. Add yours by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.