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University Archives & Special Collections

The University Archives and Special Collections is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM, by appointment only.

Special Collections

Special Collections contains rare and unique books as well as documents, photographs, and objects on various national and international topics and events. The Special Collections section has numerous materials on events such as the American Civil War, World War I, and World War II, as well as general topics such as American politics, business and industry, and space exploration. Many of the items in this collection contain primary sources collected by historians and others with an interest in preserving and sharing history.

Featured Collections:

  • Henry Peckinpaugh Collection
  • William Sonntag Collection
  • Lee William Jones Collection

For more information about materials in this collection, check out our Finding Aids.

Regional History contains books, documents, photographs, and objects on various topics and events that focus primarily on Indiana and the Midwest region. The Regional History section has numerous materials on local topics such as early Evansville government records, businesses, both active and historic, in and around Evansville, as well as local communities and groups such as the African-American and Jewish communities in Evansville. This section also has topics about the Midwest region, such as the flood of 1937, education, and politics. Many of the items in the collection contain primary sources collected by historians and others with an interest in preserving and sharing history. As a part of this area, Regional History also contains over 500 oral histories from community members on a range of topics and interests.

Featured collections:

  • Hammond-Awe Collection
  • Mead Johnson Collection
  • Charles Rochelle Collection

For more information about materials in this collection, check out our Finding Aids.


Oral History Collection

The Oral History Collection consists of audio and video interviews with residents of Evansville, Indiana and the tri-state area about their lives and experiences during the 19th and 20th centuries.  Topics include global conflicts such as World War II and the Korean War, as well as the local impact of events as the Great Depression and the Civil Rights Movement.  Other interviews explore themes such as the Ku Klux Klan, local history, education, as well as many others.

For more information about materials in this collection, check out our Oral History Gallery.

Communal Studies contains books, documents, photographs, and objects on various local, national, and international communities.  Started in conjunction with the Center for Communal Studies, this area focuses primarily on intentional communities. This collection contains information on specific communal groups and communities, such as the Shakers, the Harmonists, and The Farm, it also has material on general communal topics and themes, such as organic agriculture, holistic medicine, etc.  Many of the items in this collection contain primary sources created by the community collected by historians and others with an interest in preserving and sharing history.

Featured Collections:

  • Don Janzen Collection
  • New Harmony Collection
  • The Farm Collection

For more information about materials in this collection, check out our Finding Aids.


Center for Communal Studies

The Center for Communal Studies is located inside the University Archives and Special Collections department in RL 3022. If you have any questions, email the Center at communalcenter@usi.edu.

The Center for Communal Studies promotes the study of contemporary and historic communal groups, intentional communities and utopias. Established in 1976 at the University of Southern Indiana, the Center encourages and facilitates meetings, classes, scholarship, publications, networking and public interest in communal groups past and present, here and abroad.

The rich research resources of the Center are housed in the University Archives and Special Collections in the David L. Rice Library. The Center archives hold primary and secondary materials on more than one hundred historic communes and several hundred collective, cooperative and co-housing communities founded since 1965. Noted communal scholars have donated their private collections and their extensive research notes and papers to the Center archives.

In many ways, intentional communities are natural laboratories for understanding and addressing some of the contemporary challenges facing humanity: conflict resolution, sustainable living, land reform, and relations between individuals and society. The Center For Communal Studies offers unmatched resources for sociologists, anthropologists, economists and others, including active communitarians, interested in the lessons -- both successes and failures -- that intentional communities can offer to the larger world.

For more information about the Center for Communal Center, visit their website at: https://www.usi.edu/liberal-arts/communal-center.

An example is show below of how to cite materials from the University Archives and Special Collections. If there are any questions, notify the University Archives and Special Collections staff by emailing at: archives.rice@usi.edu.

Collection Title. Collection, Box, and Folder Numbers. Source, Location, Date.

  • Beardsley, Montgomery, Gordon Family. MSS 297-1-3. University Archives and Special Collections, Evansville, IN. 10 April 2018.
  • Clubs and Organizations. RH 013-9. University Archives and Special Collections, Evansville, IN. 27 July 2017.
  • Creative and Print Services. RH 041-1-4. University Archives and Special Collections, Evansville, IN. 15 October 2018.
  • Double-Cola Company. MSS 283, Map Case Folder 3.  University Archives and Special Collections, Evansville, IN. 7 February 2015.