Special Collections and Archives

College Archives

The College Archives, located in Room 014 on Lower Level 2 of the Reed College Library, collect and preserve the myriad documents related to the life of the College from its earliest days. In addition, it houses the papers of founding figures such as Simeon and Amanda Reed and Thomas Lamb Eliot as well as many other manuscript files. Papers of early Reed Presidents and several faculty members including George Bernard Noble and Lloyd J. Reynolds are held along with materials relating to student life and that of the Reed Community. College publications including the Quest and the Griffin may be read here. Some architectural files related to the Reed campus are held along with the library of Eliot Hall architect, A. E. Doyle. Both manuscripts and papers of Philip Whalen ('51) are held, including correspondence with Reed alumni from the Beat Poet group: Gary Snyder ('51) and Lew Welch ('50). A separate collection of Gary Snyder correspondence is also held. Manuscripts and archival materials may be consulted during posted hours and by appointment. Contact us for more information.


Historically, the Reed Archives were under the purview of the early administration in Eliot Hall. Papers, documents, and financial records no longer needed were boxed up and filed in closets and extra rooms. In the late 1960s, Dorothy O. Johansen proceeded to explore and organize these boxes upon her retirement from the Reed faculty, carrying out research and several writing projects on Reed-related topics. In 1986, Florence Lehman took over upon her retirement as Head of Alumni Relations. She oversaw the transfer of these materials to the new library space created in the 1989 Hauser addition. Since the early 1990s, the library and its Special Collections & Archives staff, starting with Marilyn Kierstead, have been responsible for the processing, care, and use of Reed's records and publications, an important part of the Reed story.

Architectural Illustrations

The Special Collections & Archives Room holds the original architectural drawings by Doyle, Patterson and Beach for the Hall of Arts and Science, now Eliot Hall, built in 1911-12. Designed by A.E. Doyle, the prolific and highly successful Portland architect, Eliot Hall was joined by the Old Dorm Block to serve as the first Reed buildings opened in 1912 to house and instruct the initial classes of students. Many other renderings, drawings, and blueprints document the construction of other structures added to the campus over the years; included are various plans for the campus landscape.

Champoeg Press

The Champoeg Press was a Reed imprint for many years (1952-1981) of books and pamphlets on Northwest historical subjects. Founded by Dorothy Johansen, Lloyd Reynolds, Richard Abel, and four others, only the first title, Applegate's A Day with the Cow Column in 1843 (1952, 225 copies) was printed at the college on a Chandler & Price press set up in the Graphic Arts Workshop and run by Reynolds. Most of the succeeding titles were designed and printed by Lawton Kennedy of San Francisco, while a few were co-produced with the Oregon Historical Society. Twenty-four titles were published under the Champoeg Press imprint, including the first three editions of Reynolds' Italic lettering exercise books. All are available in Special Collects & Archives. (See a Bibliography of the Champoeg Press.)

College Publications

The Archives document the publications of the college and its student body in the catalogs, handbooks, and magazines of the administration and in runs of student-produced Griffin annuals, Quest newspapers, and short-lived titles in poetry, science, and the social sciences. Janus (1941-57) contains student verse by Phil Whalen, Gary Snyder, and William Dickey while the Reed magazine records the events, academics, and personalities at Reed. Other materials such as the sound recordings of the Collegium Musicum, tapes of presentations by faculty and visitors, and the Oral History Project interviews with alumni and faculty further document the activities of the college.


A major collection of photographs of the evolving Reed campus and its community members is held in the archives. From early daguerrotypes of the founders, Simeon and Amanda Reed, to the latest digital online images, the visual materials delineate the Reed experience. President Foster's (incumbent 1910-1919) three photograph scrapbooks of students, activities, construction of the first campus buildings, and faculty join scrapbooks compiled by students attending from 1911 into the 1930s. Photographic test sheets for Reed publications accompany lantern slides and glass-plate negatives, and photos range from subjects such as Emilio Pucci, class of 1937, to Renn Fayre.


The Reediana Collection comprises books by Reedies, alumni, faculty, and staff as well as items relating to college affairs over the years. This collection adds new titles as they are sent in by alumni and other community members or purchased. Titles signed by the author are especially desirable. Holdings include books by past and present college presidents, illustrious faculty, and alumni such as David Eddings, Janet Fitch, Gary Snyder, Phil Whalen, Barbara Ehrenreich, Peter Norton, James Beard, and Mary Barnard. The call numbers for these items begin with XR, and they are available for study through Special Collections & Archives.


The original copies of senior theses are kept in closed stacks within Special Collections & Archives and are restricted to use in Room L014. Most theses written since 1960 and some popular earlier titles are held in duplicate; the second copies are shelved in the tower and available for circulation. Although theses are written on many different subjects, there is an interesting group pertaining to Reed College.