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Special Collections & University Archives

University Archives

University of San Francisco campus, corner of Parker Avenue and Fulton Street, c.1932

The University of San Francisco Archives is a unit within the Department of Special Collections & University Archives. The primary purpose of the Archives is to collect, preserve and make available the historical records of the institution, in all of its various forms, since its 1855 founding as Saint Ignatius Academy on Market Street in San Francisco.

The functions of the Archivist are to appraise, acquire, arrange, describe, preserve, and make available the records of the university as well as collections of related materials acquired from outside the institution. 

Digital Collections

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Types of Materials

Archival records may be in a wide variety of formats and material types including, but not limited to, paper documents, photographs, slides, film, computer files, sound recordings, and objects.

Collections in the Archives may contain: official university records; books and scrapbooks; journals and newspapers; yearbooks and other annuals; manuscripts, letters, memoranda and reports; maps, posters, architectural drawings; photographs, negatives, and film; audio and video tapes and motion pictures; memorabilia; ephemeral materials; digital and electronic media and a variety of other original materials. 

The University Archives also seeks to include a wide range of non-official records and papers generated by or pertaining to administrators, faculty, staff, alumni and students. This includes, but is not limited to, photographs, manuscripts and personal papers relating to the history of the institution as well as records created and maintained by student government and other student organizations.

The majority of collection items date from after the California earthquake of April 18, 1906 when the structures and contents of St. Ignatius College and St. Ignatius Church, both located at Hayes and Van Ness, were destroyed in the earthquake and subsequent fire storm.

There is also a small collection of printed catalogs, yearbooks, photographs and student publications that originated in the former San Francisco College for Women/Lone Mountain College (1929-1978). The property and buildings were purchased by USF in 1978.


In accordance with legal requirements, professional standards, institutional policies, and donor agreements, the University of San Francisco Archives provides open and equitable access to the collections under its care without discrimination.

Collections are made available to the University of San Francisco community as well as the general public on a regular basis, unless access is temporarily restricted by legal requirements or written agreements with the donor or creating office.

Access to unprocessed collections or fragile materials may be restricted or limited in order to maintain physical and intellectual control and protect items from potential damage.

USF Campus, 1932

University of San Francisco campus, corner of Parker Avenue and Fulton Street, c.1932

Looking east, the view is of St. Ignatius Church, Welch Hall (faculty residence), Liberal Arts Building (Campion Hall). On the north side, along Golden Gate Avenue down to Masonic Avenue, the view is of the Masonic Cemetery property. West of Parker Avenue, the view is of the football field and track for St. Ignatius High School located at Turk and Stanyan until 1969.

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