The University Archives collects, stores, organizes, promotes, and makes accessible a wide variety of records, publications, photographs, and artifacts about the history of Western Oregon University. Its collections describe and document student and faculty life, building history, and key events at Western since its founding in Monmouth, Oregon in 1856.

Instructional Use

Faculty are encouraged to integrate Western’s history into classroom assignments and projects. Students have documented public sculptures on campus, discovered the history of campus buildings, documented the history of women students at Western, and created departmental histories by using the Archives collections.

Subject Indexes

The Archives collections are organized into major subject categories. Subject indexes, also called finding aids, list specific subject headings within each category, and are available by request.

Tours, Exhibits, and Presentations

Faculty, student organizations, outside groups, or individuals may arrange for class or individual tours or for a presentation about the Archives or an aspect of Western’s history. Archives materials may be exhibited in the Library or other campus buildings.


On a case-by-case basis, WOU Archives welcomes the donation of photographs, textiles, diplomas, scrapbooks, artifacts, letters, records, and other materials related to student and faculty life and Western’s history. Please contact the Archives staff regarding donations.

History of Western

A variety of information about Western’s history has been prepared by the Archives staff. Notebooks of campus history topics have been placed on Reserve at the Library. Other information including a bibliography, campus chronology, lists of founders, presidents, buildings, and institutional name changes can be found on the History of WOU webpage.

Location and Contact Information 

The WOU Archives is located in the Hamersly Library on Monmouth Avenue. Visitors may request a guest parking pass at the Information Desk in the first floor lobby. Please schedule an appointment prior to your visit.

Contact Information

If you have a question about any aspect of Western’s history or would like to consult materials, you may use the online Inquiry/Request form or contact us via phone, email, or mail with your request. Users who request information by mail will be asked to reimburse for postage and photocopying expenses. If you email the Archives, it is possible for staff to send you scanned copies of documents or photographs at no charge.

Phone: 503.838.8419
Email: libarchives@wou.edu
Mail: University Archives
Hamersly Library
Western Oregon University
345 N. Monmouth Ave.
Monmouth, OR 97361-1396

Other Resources

While the University Archives contains a wide variety of information about Western’s past history, several other campus offices should also be consulted for specific types of questions. Off-campus, a number of local public libraries, archives, museums, genealogical associations and county and city offices retain information about Polk County history and keep records about the individuals who worked at Western or attended the institution. Two external sources are: the Historic Monmouth and the Independence Local History webpages.

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