Contents: About the Collection | About Special Collections | About Digital Initiatives | Tech

University of Idaho Historical Photos

Photographs documenting campus life at the University of Idaho from 1890 to 1980

About the Collection

A variety of photographs from several photographic collections held by Special Collections & Archives that depict scenes from the University of Idaho’s past. Includes portraits of past professors and alumni, as well as photos of buildings and events. Images also show prominent homes, scenes, and historical events in Moscow, ID. As one of our earliest digital collections, these images were chosen by Special Collections staff to facilitate often-requested themes and locations, and to give a broad overview of our university history.

Memorial Gymnasium, University of Idaho
Memorial Gymnasium, University of Idaho

Images come from ten different photograph collections and one manuscript collection, many of which have since been digitized in their entirety or as part of other digital collections. The list of source collections and links if available are below:

The amount of items being digitized and put online is growing quickly, so be sure to check our Digital Initiatives collections often! Descriptions of all images from processed photograph collections housed in Special Collections can be searched through the Historical Photograph Database.

Students working in a computer lab, 1984
Students working in a computer lab, 1984

About Special Collections

Head Librarian M. Belle Sweet first brought up the notion of a ‘special collection’ in September 1933, when in a letter she designated part of an old, unused elevator shaft that had been made into a small room with shelves. She saw the need to protect from environmental injury and theft any books that were deemed rare, valuable, unique, or for any reason should be treated with care.

Student studying in Special Collections area, 1962
Student studying in Special Collections area, 1962

Today, Special Collections and Archives specializes in the acquisition, preservation, and use of research materials that document the cultural and environmental history of Idaho, the University of Idaho, and to a lesser degree that of surrounding states. The collections include personal papers of individuals and families; business archives of lumber, railroad, mining, and other companies; Idaho state publications; papers of government officials, educators, authors, and business people; records of organizations such as religious, fraternal, civic, and environmental associations; and similar groups. The collection formats include personal papers and archives, photographs, books, serials, reports, maps, blueprints, oral history interviews, and related items.

About Digital Initiatives

The department was established in 2008 with an initial charge to digitize and make accessible the library’s renowned International Jazz Collections. Material from the Jazz Collections continue to be added to this day, and we continue to build on our collections. We currently maintain over 70 digital collections and applications, and work that begun in the lab has now been incorporated into a library department, Data and Digital Services, and a University center, the Center for Digital Inquiry and Learning (CDIL). CDIL is a collaboration between the library and the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences (CLASS) that advances digital scholarship work at UI.

Plaque presented to Lionel Hampton from Lynn Skinner, for making the University of Idaho Lionel Hampton/Chevron Jazz Festival the world's greatest festival, Feb. 20-23, 1999
Plaque presented to Lionel Hampton from Lynn Skinner, for making the University of Idaho Lionel Hampton/Chevron Jazz Festival the world's greatest festival, Feb. 20-23, 1999

Starting in 2020, the U of I Library Special Collections department now resides under Digital Initiatives. This gives us the best opportunity for collaboration on digital and physical preservation of materials and to expand our efforts on collection and preservation of born-digital files.

Technical Credits - CollectionBuilder

This digital collection is built with CollectionBuilder, an open source tool for creating digital collection and exhibit websites that is developed by faculty librarians at the University of Idaho Library following the Lib-STATIC methodology.

This site is built using CollectionBuilder-CDM which utilizes CONTENTdm APIs to create an engaging “skin” on top of an existing digital collection repository.

More Information Available

Technical Specifications
IMLS Support