Library Acquisitions | Wisconsin Historical Society

General Information

Acquisitions and Collection Development


Library Acquisitions | Wisconsin Historical Society

The Division of Library, Archives and Museum Collections Acquisitions Section is responsible for acquiring, through purchase and donation, additions to the library and archival holdings of the Wisconsin Historical Society. Given the broad scope of the Society’s collections in documenting Wisconsin, Midwestern and American history, this effort is divided into categories based on format and content.

Library Acquisitions

The library is responsible for acquiring published materials, in print and digital formats, that focus on the history of the United States and Canada, as part of its role within the UW-Madison’s library system. For these purposes documentation is acquired in sufficient depth to support PhD-level research in many subject areas. For more information about the subject areas collected by the library, see Library Acquisitions Areas.

The library is the official repository for all State of Wisconsin publications and, with UW-Madison, is a regional depository for United State federal government publications. It is also a selective depository for Canadian national and provincial documents and holds official state publications from many states throughout the union.

Archival Acquisitions

Archival collection development is responsible for the acquisition of manuscript collections. The Society focuses its current manuscript collecting activity on records documenting Wisconsin and three national topics: organized labor, mass communications and social action. For more information on each of these collecting areas see below.

Labor Collecting

The Society's Archives has been collecting records of organized labor since the early twentieth century. Currentl collecting focuses on Wisconsin labor organizations, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and its predecessor unions, additions to other existing organized labor collections, and additions to the Socialist Workers Party and Socialist Labor Party collections. See an overview of our Labor Collection.

Mass Communications

Current collecting includes personal papers collections that build on the strengths of the Society's exsiting print and broadcast journalism holdings including Pulitzer Prize-winners, nationally significant journalists, network television reporters, foreign correspondents, opinion journalists, and individuals and organizations active in civil journalism.

See the Mass Communications History Collections fact sheet (PDF, 116 KB) and an overview of our Mass Communications History Collections.

Social Action Collecting

The Society's Archives continues to accept collection that augment our existing holdings in aspects of social action including organized labor and social reform movements seeking to promote economic justice, Social Security and entitlements, civil rights, civil liberties, free speech, anti-Vietnam War protest and the New Left, community organizing, and peace and justice activism. The Archives also seeks collections that document the organic and sustainable foods movement in the United States.

See the Social Action Archives fact sheet (PDF, 116 KB) and an overview of our Social Action Collection.

Wisconsin Collecting

The Society Archives acquires private manuscript papers and organizational records that document the history of Wisconsin from the seventeenth century to the present (in addition to state and local government records). We seek Wisconsin textual, audio-visual, and digital collections encompassing many subject areas including agriculture, the arts, business and industry, mass communications, labor, social organizations and activity, the military, natural resources and the environment, recreation and leisure, politics and government, ethnic and population groups, and transportation.

Have Questions?

For more information on Library acquisitions contact:

Laurie Chipps

For more information on Archives acquisitions contact:

Jennifer Skarbek