Our History

Center for Pacific Northwest Studies

In 1971, a dedicated group of faculty at Western Washington University established the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies as an archives and research institute to foster interdisciplinary study of the region. CPNWS continues to expand upon that earlier vision through its mission to enhance public and scholarly understandings of the region's past and present through the management and expansion of its archival collections, the development of public programming, and the publication in print or electronic form of select material.

Special Collections

Special Collections was created as one component of a re-organization in the late-1990s of library collections and services. It initially consisted of the Campus History Collection, a Rare Book Collection, a modest collection of faculty publications, and a collection of Western's masters and honors theses. In 1999, Special Collections added a number of collecting areas including The Western Collection (formerly the faculty publications collection), Northwest Collection, Mathes Reading Figurines Collection, Fly Fishing Collections (including the Paul and Mary Ann Ford Fly Fishing Collection), the Campus History Oral History Program, the Campus School Collection, the Helene Whitson Collection of unique-format children’s literature, and the Children’s Collection.

University Archives

The University Archives and Records Center at WWU began in the late 1960s, with origins in the History Department. Systematic consolidation of the institution's archives began in 1974, and, in 1977, the program became part of Western Libraries. The first documented accession in University Archives was from the Vice President for Student Affairs and included a wide range of historical records dating from the earliest years of the institution. Since that time, the Archives has grown to a collection of over 3,000 linear feet with records dating from 1895 to the present.