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Types of Material in Our Collections

The collections in the Drexel University Archives consist mostly of paper records and photographic prints. We also have videocassettes, photographic negatives and slides, audio and audiovisual material on reels, phonograph records, born-digital material, and a few artifacts.

The photographic prints document events and topics such as Commencement and the laying of cornerstones for new buildings, academic activities, the Drexel family, athletic teams, and student life.

Paper records include: 

  • Correspondence, including the official correspondence of Drexel presidents
  • Meeting minutes, including the Board of Trustees, and committees and groups representing many aspects of the Drexel community
  • Publications such as yearbooks, student newspapers, literary magazines, and department newsletters
  • Annual reports from colleges and departments
  • Course catalogs
  • Documents created by the administration for planning the development and expansion of Drexel
  • Event posters and fliers
  • Blueprints and maps
  • Scrapbooks and photo albums from student groups and individual students
  • Student record books from Drexel’s earliest years
  • Course materials such as syllabi and lecture note

Our born-digital collections contain documents and media created using computer programs (as opposed to digitized materials, which exist in both an original, analog version and as a digital facsimile).

Born-digital materials include:

  • Meeting minute
  • Websites created by University offices, departments, and student groups >
  • Oral history interview
  • Administrative report
  • Recordings of student fashion shows, concerts, and dance performances >
  • Research dat
  • Software created by Drexel community members

Rare Books

The University Archives has a modest collection of rare books, including approximately 250 volumes printed before the nineteenth century. Almost all of these works were printed in Europe or North America, and many of them are in European languages other than English, primarily Latin, Italian, and French. 

Highlights of the collection include 10 incunabula (books printed before 1501) and a near-complete set of the Description de l'Égypte (Description of Egypt), a series of volumes published 1809-1822 based on work by scholars who accompanied Napoleon’s 1798 invasion of Egypt.

A list of rare books in the Libraries’ online catalog is available online.

Theses and Dissertations

The University Archives is mandated under Drexel’s Records Management Policy to preserve a copy of every graduate thesis and dissertation submitted by a Drexel student. Our holdings include theses from the 1930s to the present. Older theses were submitted in print form, while recent theses are submitted in electronic (PDF) format and stored in the Drexel Research Discovery portal. University Archives also holds graduate or “capstone” projects by students in several programs.

For information about submission guidelines and procedures, visit Drexel University Libraries’ Theses, Dissertations and Projects webpage.

Books by Drexel Authors

The University Archives holds books by Drexel-affiliated authors from the late nineteenth century to the present, and we continue to add to this collection. Traditionally, we have focused on works by faculty members, but we also collect books by Drexel staff members, students, and alumni/ae. Because the University Archives does not have any budget for purchasing collection materials, we generally rely on donations, and we encourage Drexel authors to donate a copy of each book they publish. For details, please contact

Digital Archival Materials

Some of our historical collections are digitized and available in the Drexel University Archival Collections platform, including documents detailing the history of the University and more than 2,000 Polish political and cultural posters from the 20th century.

The University Archives also saves past versions of Drexel University websites, including previous versions of department pages, student group websites, The Triangle, Drexel’s student newspaper; and other sites that represent the University’s online activities going back to 2009.

For more information about accessing our online materials, visit the Explore our Online Collections page.