MSMU's University Archives collects, preserves, and provides access to materials of historical, research, and administrative interest. The archives hold selected records from administrative, academic, social, and cultural sources from both Chalon and Doheny campuses. Record series date from the foundation of the college in 1925 to the present and document its two campuses high above Los Angeles in Brentwood and on historic Chester Place downtown. In addition to textual records, archival series include photographs, flyers, clippings, scrapbooks, yearbooks, programs, and catalogs. Along with these primary source materials, we have various histories of the college and its founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. As a Catholic institution of higher learning with a commitment to social justice, the Mount has a long history of compassion, outreach, and community service.
The mission of the University Archives is to collect, arrange, and preserve documents and artifacts which contribute to the official memory of Mount Saint Mary's University. These records and documents, which have been deemed to be of enduring value, contain evidence of and information about the mission, history, organization, and operations of MSMU.
To accomplish this mission, the University Archives and Special Collections will accept and arrange the materials of departments, organizations, and individuals as they relate to the history of MSMU. They will collect, preserve, and make accessible permanent university records, rare materials, and other cultural heritage artifacts that relate to the history and educational endeavors of MSMU. They will also provide reference and outreach services to students, faculty, and staff as well as make the collections available to researchers to support their MSMU informational needs.
The University Archives are housed in the Frank H. Spearman Room (A109) on the first floor of the Charles Willard Coe Memorial Library at the Chalon Campus.
MSMU Special Collections materials include rare books, early editions of the Bible, theology treatises, devotional works, and Classical writings as well as various 18th, 19th, and 20th-century literature and art books.
Special collections are housed, along with the archives, in the Frank H. Spearman Room (A109) on the first floor of the Charles Willard Coe Memorial Library at the Chalon Campus, as well as parts of the Doheny Mansion, including the CSJ Institute at the Doheny Campus.
Through a generous grant from Mount alumnae and the Lyrasis-Sloan Foundation Mass Digitization Project, several collections in the University Archives have been digitized and are freely available for viewing and downloading on the University Archives institutional repository (MSMU Digital Collections).
Selected photographs from the first 75 years of Mount history are available on the University Archives institutional repository (MSMU Digital Collections). Collections include historic postcards from Chester Place, the site of the Mount's Doheny Campus since 1962, and pictures and documents from the Bel Air Fire disaster in November 1961.
Digital Humanities Projects
The University Archives has a strong commitment to the role of primary materials in digital humanities. Faculty and students are encouraged to seek opportunities to use MSMU's archival materials in their curriculum and projects.
In the summer semester of 2013, students in MSMU's graduate division participated in a Digital Humanities course that explored the digitization and curation of primary and secondary materials in the University Archives.
Using the novel Whispering Smith as their starting point, students researched its author, western writer, Catholic commentator, and Mount benefactor Frank Spearman (1859-1937). Using archival materials from the Spearman family in the Archives, the students produced detailed web resources focusing on Spearman and promoted it through social media channels.
The students' culminating project, Frank Spearman - A Digital Experience, contains biographical and bibliographical material, an annotated reading of Whispering Smith (1906), family photographs, a filmography, and an extensive finding aid of Spearman holdings at MSMU.
How do I access MSMU Archives & Special Collections?
The University Archives are open to MSMU students, faculty, alums, staff, and qualified researchers. The University Archives consists of irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind materials, and archives visitors must observe the access policies as outlined below.
Special Collections are open to MSMU students, faculty, alums, staff, and qualified researchers. Most of the books do not circulate, but exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis. The exception is the Newman Collection, which is available to Newman scholars through the MSMU Library Catalog (search "Cardinal Newman") and LINK+.
What are the access policies?
As an instructor, how do I arrange for my class to use university archives and special collections materials?
Faculty are invited to consult with the Archives & Special Collections Librarian in incorporating archives materials into their curriculum.
How do I get permission to use digital MSMU materials?
Copyright to these assets is held by Mount Saint Mary’s University, which makes the material available to members of the Mount Community and qualified researchers.
Please consult with the Archives & Special Collections Librarian for further information on the publication of any MSMU materials.
What kinds of materials can I transfer or donate to the Archives?
Due to digital copyright issues, and the current complexity and cost of preserving electronic materials, the following types of material are typically excluded. We hope that in the not-too-distant future we will be able to accept archival-quality digital originals for permanent retention.
Please consult with the Archives & Special Collections Librarian for assistance in identifying appropriate materials.
How do I search for Mount publications online?
Many MSMU publications are digitized. To search catalogs, newspapers, yearbooks, journals and more, browse MSMU Digital Collections. Most items may be downloaded.
How do I search for pictures?
A selection of historic photos is available at MSMU Digital Collections - Historic Photos Collection. Please cite your photos and credit “MSMU Archives.”
If you need more recent photos, please contact the Archives & Special Collections Librarian.
How do I search for archival materials, primary sources, correspondence, ephemera, etc.?
Archives exist in many forms. You may search descriptions of more than 100 collections by entering names and keywords here MSMU Archives (Finding Aids).
Please make an appointment with the Archives & Special Collections Librarian and plan to visit the archives at the Chalon Campus (Archives 109) to see the actual documents in person.
How do I search for manuscripts online?
A selection of MSMU’s collection of medieval manuscripts and rare Bible leaves is available at MSMU Digital Exhibits - Manuscripts.