About the Wheaton College Special Collections

The Wheaton College Archives seeks to document the history of Wheaton College, 1860 to the present, and its predecessor, the Illinois Institute, 1853-59. The College Archives also serves as a major information source for people, publications, and events associated with Wheaton College. Begun in earnest around the time of Wheaton’s Centennial celebration in 1960, the archives has its history going back several decades earlier when Julia Blanchard, the grand-daughter of Jonathan Blanchard and former college librarian, was named Archivist.

The Special Collections of Wheaton College’s library were begun in the late 1960s and had its first growth spurt in the 1970s. The first major donation was the receipt of a substantial rare book collection from William S. Akin. Several years later the trustees of Wheaton College authorized the Madeleine L’Engle Collection and this noted author made Wheaton the official repository of her papers.

The Special Collections seeks to collect, preserve, and present materials in all formats related to the life-work of significant adherents to the Christian faith in the modern world. The goal is to support the academic curriculum, strengthen and broaden the College’s rich tradition of academic excellence,integration of faith and learning in scholarly endeavor that issues in servant-ministry.