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WCU Digital Collections

Collection Summaries

Digital Collections at West Chester University include digitized (scanned, photographed, or filmed) files of original pieces with information about the material.  Most of the originals are housed in Special Collections but make sure to check out the individual pages for each of these collections for complete details on locations and holdings.  Most of the materials are best accessed via our digital collections but in some cases originals can be accessed by contacting us.  Questions about the materials?  Please click the contact us tab for contact information.

Anthropology: Contains materials from WCU's Anthropology Department. Includes:

Archaeology Prehistoric Artifact: Contains prehistoric archaeological materials from the Harry Wilson and Charles Hepner Collections.

Historic Chester County Redware: Contains redware or earthenware pottery produced in and around Chester County, PA by the Vickers' Family between 1796 and 1861.

Aralia Press:  Contains selected works from Aralia Press, a fine arts press at WCU.

Archives: Includes pamphlets, documents, and records of historic value to WCU.

N. Ruth Reed Dolls of the World Collection: Contains video and still photographs of dolls from the N. Ruth Reed Dolls of the World Collection. The dolls represent almost all continents of the world.

Chester County: Contains materials from Chester County businesses and student papers about local historic businesses.

Civil War: Includes materials from the Dr. William Goodell collection, including letters and receipts from a POW camp in West Chester after the Battle of Gettysburg.

Course Catalogs: West Chester University course catalogs from 1871-2008.  Contains both Undergraduate and Graduate Course Catalogs.

E. Burke Wilford Aviation Collection: The E. Burke Wilford Aviation Collection contains photographs, documents, and personal papers of E. Burke Wilford. E. Burke Wilford was an inventor from Merion Station, PA. Most of the collection focuses on the W.R.K. Gyroplane and the Pennsylvania Aircraft Syndicate, Burke's company.

Historic Postcards: Late nineteenth and early twentieth century postcards depicting West Chester, Chester County and West Chester University.

Letters of General Anthony Wayne: Collection of letters to and from Anthony Wayne, a Revolutionary War general and friend of George Washington.

Lowell Gardenhour United States Air Force Asia Collection: Collection of photographs from Lowell Gardenhour's service in Japan, Vietnam, and Korea, as well as Ephemera from his travels and service in the United States Air Force..

Old Caln Historical Society Collection: Collection of PDFs from the Old Caln Historical Society in Caln Township, PA. The PDFs include research about properties in Caln Township, PA as well as maps, photographs, and scans of deed books.

Philips Autograph Collection: Inscriptions and autographs from a variety of well-known authors, collected by G.M. Philips, principal of West Chester State Normal School from 1880-1920.

Sharples: Contains adbooks, ads, postcards, and other materials from the Sharples Cream Separator Works Company.  This company began in West Chester in 1881 and flourished until the Great Depression.

WCU Historic Photographs: Includes photographs of buildings, people, sports teams and events on WCU's campus beginning in 1871. 

WCU Student Newspapers: Contains digitized versions of WCU's Student Newspapers; The Amulet, The Green Stone, The Quad Angles, and The Quad; from 1892 to 2011.

WCU Yearbooks: West Chester University yearbooks from 1910-2008. The first yearbook (1910) is called the Pathfinder beginning in 1911 it became the Serpentine.

Works Project Administration (WPA): Films and photographs of WCU’s collection of WPA materials created by the Museum Extension Project (MEP) to teach young children about historically and culturally significant people and events.

World War II: Surveys of WCU Service men and women during World War II as well as Propoganda posters.

Digital Archives Background

The Archives and Special Collections of West Chester University began digitizing materials to increase access and to promote the preservation of the fragile and highly used items in the collection.  Creating digital images of fragile historic items is the preferred method of preservation; by creating images of an item, a researcher can intimately examine the item without physically handling it, thus slowing deterioration. The digitization work completed thus far has been made possible through two seperate projects.

First, West Chester has collaborated with the Keystone Library Network (KLN) Digital Collections.  The KLN represents the 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and other affiliated libraries in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Bloomsburg University, Kutztown University, Millersville University, Slippery Rock University and West Chester University currently each contribute to the Keystone Library Network of Pennsylvania Digital Collections.

The second project was made possible through a collaboration with the Internet Archive using University Performance Funding in conjunction with a special grant from the Sloane Foundation to Lyrasis.  This project included a mass digitization of all of the University's yearbooks, course catalogs, and two written histories.

As funding becomes available, the Special Collections and Archives plans to continue digitization and preservation projects, focusing on the fragile and the highly used materials in our collections.

 Please contact the Special Collections and Archives for more information.

West Chester University   ---    WCU Libraries  25 West Rosedale Avenue, West Chester, PA 19383  610-430-4400