Collection preview: Milwaukee-Downer College Records

When Lawrence consolidated with Milwaukee-Downer College in 1964, a subset of the College records came to Lawrence. The University lacked a designated Archives at the time, so the administration opted to transfer only those records that were necessary for ensuring a smooth transition. The Board of Trustees of Milwaukee-Downer College donated the remainder of the College records to the Wisconsin Historical Society. This collection, 53 cubic feet of materials, is housed and available for research at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Archives.

The records from Milwaukee-Downer that were transferred to Lawrence eventually made their way to the Archives. Over time, these records have been supplemented by many generous donations of scrapbooks, papers, photographs, and memorabilia from Milwaukee-Downer alumnae. The collections as a whole represent an essential corollary to the records held by the Wisconsin Historical Society. They richly document the history of a pioneering women’s college in the Midwest, its operations, its traditions, and the life of its faculty, staff, students, and alumnae.

Here in the Archives, we have recently started processing our Milwaukee-Downer College collections, physically organizing and cataloging their contents to enhance their accessibility. We hope and are on track to complete the project within a year. So far, we’ve inventoried a full run of Board of Trustees minutes, 1895 to 1964; annual reports of the Presidents, Deans, and Registrar; and an extensive series of bulletins. From the latter, here’s a sneak peek – a bulletin on “A Student’s Eye View” at Milwaukee-Downer from February, 1961.

Materials from these collections, even the unprocessed portions, are still available for use. But the collection will be much more accessible once processing is completed. Stay tuned for updates!

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