The Dickinson College Archive staff will be available for questions and the archives will be open for tours. Here you can view the types of records found in most academic archives. For those whose ancestors actually attended Dickinson, you may find records that provide insight into their lives. If your ancestors attended another educational institution, you will learn about potential resources that may be available at that institution.
Information about students at the time they enrolled may include birth date, home address, parents’ names, and other personal information. The school may even have letters or other documents regarding the application and admission process.
Grades, Transcripts, and Disciplinary Records
Information about student performance while at school may be preserved in gradebooks for individual classes, or in a final transcript reflecting all grades received for all classes. School records may include information about absences, systems of merits and demerits for behavior, or even letters written between the school and parents of a student.
Work done by students for their classes may be preserved, whether it be written speeches or essays, notebooks from classes, or even artwork or other creative materials. Sometimes these materials will be found within files that were kept by a teacher or by an academic program.
Papers of Student Organizations
Clubs, fraternities and sororities, and even sports teams may have maintained records of their activities. Meeting minutes, copies of programs of events they hosted, photographs of activities, and membership rosters may all help tell the story of individual students who participated in such groups.
School Publications and Printed Programs
Most schools at different times in their histories produce some kind of newspaper, annual yearbook, alumni directory, newsletter, catalog, and alumni magazine. Schools also generate programs for special events, like musical and theater performances, sports contests, and graduation ceremonies. All of these printed materials may provide information about a student’s experiences at the school.
Most schools try to maintain contact with alumni in later years and may keep files about them and their lives. Files about alumni may include newspaper clippings about the person’s accomplishments, letters of recommendation, biographical updates shared with reunion committees, or even information about donations made to the school.
Many schools have accepted donations of diaries, letters, scrapbooks, photographs, and other personal memorabilia from alumni or from family of alumni. These personal papers may directly relate to an ancestor you are researching, or they may relate more indirectly (for instance, if your ancestor was close friends with someone who kept a diary and later donated that diary to the school).
For those whose ancestors actually attended Dickinson, you may find records that provide insight into their lives. If your ancestors attended another educational institution, you will learn about potential resources that may be available at that institution.