How to use the Archives


The Archives includes WCSU administrative records, faculty papers, university publications, visual materials, and other media created by the University. It also includes non-WCSU affiliated local history materials which include: photographs, maps, journals and other media. The archival holdings amount to approximately 750 linear feet.

Items that are kept in the Archives are divided into “collections” which usually indicates the person or organization who created or compiled the items. For example, a collection called the John Smith Papers would likely be personal papers that were written or created by a John Smith and kept together in an archival collection. Archivists create for these “collections” what are called finding aids which are designed to aid the researcher in finding items that they may be seeking. The finding aid usually contains a description of the creator and a description of the contents of the collection along with an inventory of what is in the collection.

The inventory in a finding aid will usually list the contents of a file folder; for example: Correspondence | 1945-1946, box: 2 Folder: 36. Below is what a typical finding aid looks like.

…and a close-up of an inventory inside a finding aid:

Finding information

1) Search application

The simplest way of finding items that are in archival collections is to use the search application provided by the archive called: CAO (CT’s Archives Online).

Connecticut's Archives Online

Using this search engine, you may search keywords, subjects, titles, dates and notes for terms and/or phrases. You may narrow your search to WCSU only or search across the CSUs and CT State Library. Results are returned that will indicate the collections that match your search along with links to the finding aid which contains that match.

  • ADVANTAGES: Most likely to find terms for your search.   Simple.
  • DISADVANTAGES: The search is only in finding aids and doesn’t include books and other non-archivial sources.

2) WestSearch

Another way one may find archival materials is by searching WestSearch, our consortial catalog. Below is the advanced search where “World War, 1914-1918” is the Subject to be searched.



Some results of this search are shown below (click the “Archives and Special Collections” limiter on the left to see materials from the Arhcives):

  • ADVANTAGES: One may search across book, video, journal, and other holdings in the library.
  • DISADVANTAGES: The search will not include the inventories and many of the descriptive notes for an archival collection.

3) Browse

One may also simply browse the collection list on the Archives’ home page. Collections titles are assigned a general subject and one may link to the finding aid from the list.

  • ADVANTAGES: One may serendipitously come across materials that they may not have found using methods 1 and 2.
  • DISADVANTAGES: Time consuming.

4) Ask the archivists

If you think that the WCSU archives may have the information you seek, email ( or call (203-837-8992) and ask the archivists for help.

Retrieving information

After searching the archives, note the collection name and the box folder or item information from that collection’s inventory. For example: George B. Hawley Collection, box 1, folder 2; box 3, item 2.

1) Visit the Archives.

Make an appointment with the archivists either by email ( or phone (203-837-8992) or IM on the Archives home page. Simply indicate the nature of inquiry (scholarly research, genealogy, etc.) and what materials you would like to view. Archival materials are generally one-of-a-kind materials and therefore have rules regulating their handling and access.

Guidelines for viewing materials:
  • Please do not alter the order of the records or folders in the collection being viewed.
  • Marking or erasing of library and archives material and property is prohibited.
  • Notes must be made in PENCIL.
  • Please cite any materials used in publication.
  • Duplication and reproduction of materials is permitted if in accordance with donor agreements and copyright restrictions. Please see reading room attendant for assistance and information regarding fee schedule.
  • No food and drink are allowed in the reading room.
  • Cell phone use is prohibited.
  • Laptop use is permitted upon consultation with the archivist.
  • Portable scanners and photography of materials is only permitted upon consultation with the archivist.
The patron agrees to the following:
  • The patron agrees to provide a valid photo ID if requested by the archivist prior to viewing materials.
  • The patron agrees to publish no portion of the records without the written permission of the archivist and/or donor(s) and assumes sole responsibility for any infringement of the literary rights, copyrights, or other rights that may pertain to the records.
  • The patron agrees to sign the daily log at the start of each visit upon completion of the registration form.

2) Request information remotely

A patron may email ( or phone (203-837-8992) the Archives to request copies of materials. A patron may simply indicate the nature of their inquiry (scholarly research, genealogy, etc.) and what materials are of interest. The archivist will notify the patron of the reproduction cost, and, upon receipt of the payment, will send the material electronically or by USPS to the patron. Checks should be made payable to: Haas Library/Special Collections and sent to:

Haas Library
Archives and Special CollectionsWestern Connecticut State University181 White St.Danbury, CT 06810

PayPal is also an option.

Use of reproduced materials is restricted and, unless otherwise specified, are under the copyright of the WCSU Archives. Written permission must be obtained from the Archives to publish any part or image of duplicated materials received from the Archives. Where copyright is not held by the WCSU Archives, permission must by obtained and determined by the patron.

Duplication of materials is per the discretion of the archivist.

Citing information

Citations should take the following form:

Identification of item (title, description etc.), date (if known); Title of the collection; collection number; container (box number, folder number, item number, etc.); Western Connecticut State University Archives.

For example:

U.S. Army, 307th Infantry Regiment – Photograph, 1918; Georg B. Hawley Papers; MS 011; Folder OS1; Western Conneecticut State University Archives.