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ENGL 213: Finding the Story: Archives

Finding the the Archives

Contact the Archives

Susan Irwin
University Archivist

Abigail Chavez
Processing Archivist & 
Records Manager

Send an email request to if you have questions or would like to make an appointment. 

Archives & Special Collections
Mark O. Hatfield Library
2nd Floor
Hours: 9:00am - 5:00pm Monday-Friday

What is a Finding Aid

A Finding Aid is a guide or inventory of the contents of an archival collection, designed to help researchers identify materials relevant to their interest, and where to find the materials.

Finding aids contain five main sections:

  • Collection Level info including collection name, collection ID number, biographical and historical notes
  • Content Overview and Arrangement section describes the types, formats and conditions of the materials contained in the collection, outlines how the collection is arranged, and provides a date range for the materials.
  • Administrative info includes the collection provenance (who donated the material), copyright note, citation note and restrictions (if any)
  • Related Materials points researchers to other collections and items in the archive or held elsewhere that are related to the collection describe in the finding aid.
  • Container List is the inventory of the contents of the collection at the box, folder or item level.

Visiting the Archive

The Materials Use Policy explains how materials are to be handled while in the reading room. Visitors are asked to sign in, indicating understanding of the policy.

When requesting materials to view please indicate the Collection Name, the box and folder numbers, and the folder title. 


Pacific Northwest Artist Archive (PNAA)

A collaborative project of the Willamette University Archives and the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, the Pacific Northwest Artists Archive (PNAA) is a collection of materials related to the careers of artists who are or were active in Oregon and Washington for the major portion of their careers.


Nicholsloy Studio collection

The Nicholsloy Studio collection documents the careers of Sandra and Dave Nichols during the years 1960 to 2018. The materials provide insight into relationships among artists and writers and document the unique art scene of Salem, Oregon. This collection includes mail art, original art, photographs, art gallery promotional fliers and posters, notebooks, digital files, correspondence with artists and writers, original prints and layouts of rebeat (a zine created by Nicholsloy Studio), a collection of zines, and a collection of materials related to the Beat Generation.

Archives West

Archives West provides access to finding aids for archival collections in the Pacific Northwest, including artist collections in Willamette's Pacific Northwest Artist Archive.


Online Archive of California

The Online Archive of California gives access to the finding aids from archives, libraries and museums across the state.

Harry Ransom Center

The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin is known for its Literature collections. Finding aids can be browsed or searched.  One  browseable list is the Finding Aids with Digital Content.


Digital Public Library of America

The Digital Public Library of America includes items from libraries and archives across the country.

LIbrary of Congress

Check out the digitized materials held by the Library of Congress

Willamette University

Willamette University Libraries

Mark O. Hatfield Library
900 State Street.
Salem Oregon 97301
Pacific Northwest College of Art Library
511 NW Broadway.
Portland Oregon 97209