Shaw-Olson Center for College History


The Shaw-Olson Center for College History — also known as the College Archives — is one of three collections housed on the second floor of the Rolvaag Memorial Library. Established in 1969, it is a repository of historical materials relating to the founding and growth of the institution.

We are a closed archives: there are no open shelves for patrons to browse. Instead, we have thousands of linear feet of boxes and files filled with letters, documents, photographs, recordings, textiles, and objects that need to be retrieved from our vault by members of our staff.

As we approach the College’s Sesquicentennial, we’re happy to report a growing interest in these materials. To help meet that demand, our small, and immensely talented staff is engaged in behind-the-scenes work to preserve these collections for future generations; make them more discoverable for our students, faculty and researchers; and to bring them to life in our classrooms.

Given our small staff, our mission to meet these new priorities, and our commitment to good stewardship of our community’s resources, we cannot accommodate drop-in visitors or research requests. Appointments are required in order to access our collections, as well as to meet with an archivist or instructor.

We ask for your patience and understanding as we work to protect, preserve and provide access to our historical materials.

We schedule appointments for students, faculty and staff cleared to be on campus:

Mondays through Thursdays, between 10 am and 2 pm
All appointments are subject to staffing availability.

If you have questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, please email us at

PLEASE NOTE: To ensure the health and safety of our community, the Archives (and the St. Olaf College Campus) is closed to outside visitors, during the Covid-19 pandemic. We will do our best to help with your inquiry using video conference, email, and digital tools. We appreciate your patience and understanding.


Mary E. Barbosa-Jerez | Head of Strategy for Library Collections & Archives
Kristell Benson | Lead Archivist
Jillian Sparks | Librarian for Special Collections & Archives Instruction