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Brooks Library Research Guides: CWU Archives and Special Collections: Finding Primary Resources
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Brooks Library Research Guides: CWU Archives and Special Collections: Finding Primary Resources

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The Archives and Special Collections at Central Washington University was established as the repository for official and unofficial records that document the history of the university and the surrounding area. It therefore serves as a regional repository to house, preserve and, promote the unique cultural history of central Washington. The following information is meant as an introduction to the collections held at the Archives. If you would like research assistance, please contact us anytime.
Archival Collections
CWU's archival collections comprise documents, correspondence, photographs, audiovisual materials, and ephemera relating to Central Washington University and its history, as well as the history of the larger central Washington area. Much of this material is detailed at greater length in finding aids or guides to individual collections. Each finding aid notes the creator, title, date, subject, size, and organization of the collection in question.

Often the finding guide will provide a "box list" or description of the collection's contents. Typically, these descriptions run to the folder level, meaning that the guide will indicate the contents of the collection folder by folder and box by box. You can see a sample box list below: 

The Archives and Special Collections at Central Washington University has described dozens of its collections in finding aids. Some of these guides are more detailed than others, but each should give you an idea of the collection's contents. Some finding aids describe collections relating to the history of Central Washington University and its subsidiary departments--these guides can be found here. Other finding aids describe regional collections--a list of those guides can be found here.

All of Central's finding aids can be found by searching the Northwest Digital Archives (NWDA). The NWDA has aggregated finding aids for participating archives, museums, and libraries in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington. You can search the NWDA by keyword to discover archival collections that may be relevant to your research. Alternatively, by selecting "more search options" or the "search" tab, you can narrow your results to particular institutions and subject areas.

To find only collections at CWU Archives, select "Central Washington University" under "institution." You can pair this selection with keywords or, by leaving the keyword option blank, browse a complete list of CWU's archival collections.

If you encounter any difficulties, please contact the CWU Archives and Special Collections.
Special Collections
The Archives and Special Collections holds a collection of rare and regionally significant books that you may use in the library. These books comprise regional histories and literature, histories of Central Washington University, children's literature, teaching textbooks, and histories of Native American cultures. 

You can search for any of the books in the Archives by using the Cattrax online catalog. Choose "Advanced Keyword" in the top right drop-down menu. Then select "Special Coll 4th Floor" under the location field and enter one or two keywords to find relevant books in the Archives.

Depending on your area of interest, we may have suggested reading for you in the following topical lists. All of the books in these lists may be found in the Archives and Special Collections. These lists are not exhaustive and are meant, rather, to get you started in your research. That said, to learn more about the histories of Washington state's counties, consider the following: 

You may also wish to consult the suggested books for more on the following topics:

If you are interested in the history of the curriculum used in the early days at Central Washington University, when the school was known as Washington State Normal School, you might consider the following book collections. Teachers and students once used these books in the classroom:

If you would like to read histories of Central Washington University, please see the following: 
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