About University Archives & Special Collections

UMass Boston was established in 1964 as the second campus in the University of Massachusetts system. The original campus of the University, pictured above, was located in the Park Square area of Boston. Image circa 1965.

University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at the University of Massachusetts Boston was established in 1981 as a repository to collect archival material in subject areas of interest to the university, as well as the records of the university itself.

The mission and history of the University of Massachusetts Boston guide the collection policies of University Archives & Special Collections, with the university’s urban mission and strong support of community service reflected in the records of and related to urban planning, social welfare, social action, alternative movements, community organizations, war and social consequence, and local history related to neighboring communities. Read more about UASC’s mission and collection policies.

There are a number of ways for faculty, students, and community members to get involved with University Archives & Special Collections programs and initiatives, from assistance with collections management and building, to work with the nationally-recognized Mass. Memories Road Show program, to scheduling class visits or assignments related to historical archival materials and primary sources as part of academic coursework.

To carry out its mission, University Archives & Special Collections is committed to working with, promoting, and assisting community archives in the Greater Boston area through facilitating cross-organization collaboration and access to informational, educational, and practical resources relevant to archival procedures and best practices.

For more information, visit blogs.umb.edu/archives.

The Collections

The nearly 300 collections in University Archives & Special Collections are divided into two broad categories:

  1. University Archives constitutes the official records, publications, and photographs of the University of Massachusetts Boston, as well as materials documenting preceding institutions such as the Boston Normal School and Boston State College.
  2. Special Collections includes collections that reflect the University’s urban mission and strong support of community service, and contains records of social welfare organizations, community organizations and alternative movements, and local history, as well as collections that document issues related to war and social consequence. Also contained in the department’s Special Collections is a selection of rare and special books.

Finding aids for all collections are in PDF format and may be found through the various search tools of our digital collections site. In addition, bibliographic records for all of the monographs in the department and some collection-level descriptions of the archival and manuscripts collections appear in the library’s online catalog.

Learn more about the holdings of University Archives & Special Collections: blogs.umb.edu/archives/collections/.

Email library.archives@umb.edu to request reference assistance.

University Archives & Special Collections welcomes inquiries from individuals, organizations, and businesses interested in donating materials of an archival nature that that fit within our collecting policy. These include manuscripts, documents, organizational archives, collections of photographs, unique publications, and audio and video media. For more information about donating to University Archives & Special Collections, click here or email library.archives@umb.edu.

About the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston

The University Libraries support the campus’ academic pursuits, providing resources and staff to guide constituents in the complex process of discovery and effective use of informational materials. The University Libraries also facilitate important conversations on scholarly communication, copyright, research, teaching, and learning in higher education, shaping the future of academic scholarship.

Explore the collections and services of the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston here.

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