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Board of Trustees Minutes

Identifier: 1/1/1

Scope and Contents

The first entry recorded in the minutes of the meetings of the Northwestern University Board of Trustees is for the original meeting held to establish a university on May 31, 1850. The minutes are complete from that meeting to the last volume listed. Minutes of the meetings of the Board of Executive Committee and all standing and special committees are also included.

For the years 1850 to 1919, minutes exist in handwritten and/or typed volumes and are boxed. For all years, 1850 to current, mimeographed or printed bound volumes exist. For most research and reference purposes, the bound volumes should be used in order to preserve the fragile boxed volumes. In addition, the bound volumes contain indexes which make searching easier.

Boxed Volumes 1-25: Handwritten, leather-bound books of Minutes of the Board of Trustees Meetings from 1850-1919, volumes 1-25, are located in boxes 2-27. The original two first Books of Minutes (1850-1871), in Box 1, are small-format volumes; large-format, handwritten copies of these first two books are found in Box 2.

Volume numbers refer to number inscribed on the spine of each book.

Small-format Indexes to the Meeting Minutes, covering 1902-1915, are located in box 28 along with two small, unidentified Indexes.

Bound Volumes (Shelved): The bound typewritten volumes of minutes between 1850 through April 1919 were copied from handwritten minutes. From May 1919 through June 1920 the minutes were copied from typewritten and/or mimeographed minutes. Thereafter, mimeographed copies of the minutes were bound in volumes.

Beginning with Volume 40, 1931-1932, lists of all members of the board and all board committees are included at the front of each volume.

At the beginning of each volume is an index which is organized, from Volume One (1850-1871) through Volume 44 (1935-1936), in chronological order and alphabetically thereunder. Beginning with Volume 45 (1936-1937) the index is only alphabetical. A new volume is added each year.


  • 1850 - 2005


Conditions Governing Access

Volumes 1-49, 1850-1940, are open for research. All later volumes are restricted; consultation with University Archivist required prior to use. Boxes 1-28 are stored at a remote campus location and require two business days advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.


28 Boxes

113 Volumes

Language of Materials



The Board of Trustees Minutes comprise 28 boxes and 113 volumes. This is an expanding collection. For all years, 1850 to current, mimeographed or printed bound volumes exist. For the years 1850 to 1919, minutes exist in handwritten and/or typed volumes and are boxed.


This collection is arranged by type of material (handwritten or typed; mimeographed or printed) and chronologically within those types.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Volumes were transferred to the University Archives from the Office of the President.


This is an expanding collection. Bound volumes will continue to be added on a regular basis.

Processing Information

Elisabeth Wittman (June, 1978); Rocio Martinez (Winter, 2009).

Guide to the Board of Trustees Minutes
Elisabeth Wittman (June, 1978); Rocio Martinez (Winter, 2009)
June 1978; Winter 2009
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Repository Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US