Copley Library

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Archives|Special Collections|Digital Collections|Media Collections


The University Archives is a repository for collections associated with the history of the University of San Diego. It is the mission of the archives to document this history by identifying, preserving and making accessible university records of enduring value. Established in the early 1990s, the University Archives contains documents, photographs, media, publications, and memorabilia from the university’s inception through the present day. The archives serves as a historical and educational resource by providing research assistance and access to its collections, and through the creation of exhibits. It supports the university by promoting knowledge and understanding of the University of San Diego’s origin, goals, programs and development through the use of its archival collections.

Special Collections

Copley Library's Special Collections contains rare books, manuscripts and artifacts, as well as publications that require careful handling and storage. These treasures include: a Californiana collection of rare and unique publications about California with an emphasis on Catholic Church history in California and on the San Diego area; a sample collection of manuscripts and early printed books; a collection of 20th century and contemporary artists’ and fine press books; a collection of finely crafted 19th century books notable for their bindings and ornamentation; a postcard collection from the early to mid-20th century and a collection of artistic bookplates.

To access material from these collections, please call (619) 260-4721, email or place your request at Copley Library’s Reference Desk. The University Archives and Special Collections Department is open by appointment only.

Digital Collections

San Diego College for Women Postcard Collection

Colorful linen postcards were produced between 1930 and the late 1950s. These postcards were collected by the nuns of the Society of the Sacred Heart who established and administered the San Diego College for Women. In 1972, the College for Women merged with the College for Men to become USD’s College of Arts and Sciences. Cloistered and therefore unable to travel, this collection represents their window on the world outside the walls of the college.

Copley Library Exhibits

Past exhibits on display at Copley Library.

David W. May American Indian Collection

Comprised of about two thousand items relating to indigenous American people of the southwestern United States, the David W. May American Indian Collection includes pottery, woodcarvings, musical instruments, fiber arts, and jewelry.

Conversations in Legal Education

The collection consists of audio interviews of University of San Diego School of Law faculty--including the first woman to teach at the law school--and former law students, accompanied by transcripts of the interview sessions, and photos of the interviewees. The conversations convey vivid images of the early years of the law school and of 20th-century American legal education and touch on other memories, such as the local music scene, activities of the ACLU, professional sports, and American legal politics allowing listeners to enjoy the personalities of the narrators.

Legal Research Center Photos

Photographs of the University of San Diego Law School faculty and buildings from late 1950s to early 1960s.

Media Collections

The Media Collections are now in two locations. DVDs, CDs, and CD-ROMs are in the cabinets in the center of the left (west) wall after you pass the circulation area. VHS tapes are now kept in Technical Services. To obtain videotapes, ask at the Access Services desk, and a staff member will retrieve the tapes.