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History Research Guide

Use this guide to find UNO library resources and other helpful research tools.

About Archives & Special Collections

The UNO Criss Library Archives & Special Collections collects, preserves, and makes available to the university community and the public unique, rare, and specialized material. This includes personal papers, organizational records, books, maps, ephemera, and other material in selected subject areas including the Arthur Paul Afghanistan Collection, University Archives, U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel Archives, and Special Collections & Rare Books. 

You can learn more about finding and using material in Criss Library Archives & Special Collections online and we encourage you to contact us about your research.

University of Omaha cheerleaders, circa 1950s

Whether you're working on a paper for a class, producing a film, writing a book, planning a retirement celebration for a UNO colleague, or researching a campus history project, Archives & Special Collections has the resources for your project. We are also able to host classes in Archives & Special Collections, visit your classroom, and offer tours for groups.

 OU cheerleaders sending off the football team to the Tangerine Bowl, December 1954.
Credit: UNO Photograph Collection, Archives & Special Collections, Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library, University of Nebraska at Omaha. 

Digital Collections

A small, but growing portion of Archives & Special Collections' holdings are available online by searching the following portals. Find links to digital collections from finding aids (manuscripts, archival collections, videos, etc.) and the library catalog (books, theses, dissertations, videos).

University Archives

The University Archives documents the history of UNO from the university's founding to the present. The University Archives is part of UNO Criss Library's Archives & Special Collections and contains yearbooks dating from the university's early years, The Gateway and YELLow Sheet student newspapers, college catalogs from 1911 to the present, newsletters from departments and colleges, Board of Regents meeting minutes, programs from campus events, and records of campus organizations. The University Archives also includes extensive photograph, negatives, and slide collections. 

Special Collections & Rare Books Overview

Material in the Special Collections & Rare Books collecting area in UNO Libraries' Archives & Special Collections contains unique and specialized items of local, state and regional interest in addition to a wide variety of materials in many subject areas and formats, including Omaha and Nebraska history, pre-19th century books, autographed books and rare first editions.

All books are described and searchable in the library's catalog.

Finding aids for manuscript collections are available in Archives & Special Collections finding aids database. If you have not found what you are looking for in the library catalog or finding aids database, contact UNO Libraries' Archives & Special Collections for assistance.

U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel Archives Overview

On October 8, 2008, at the kick-off of UNO's centennial celebration, Chancellor John Christensen announced that U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel would donate his papers and artifacts to his alma mater. The materials from his D.C. and Nebraska offices arrived in December and the work of processing (arrangement and description) began.  

The Hagel Archives contains 1700 boxes of paper and photos, hundreds of videos and artifacts, and 400+ books. The records are being arranged in seven series—personal and political papers, legislative records, press and media activity, constituent services,  administrative files, artifacts, and audiovisual. 

Artifacts, Grant Files, Photographs, and Schedules opened for research in January, 2016. The rest of the Hagel Archives remains closed as it is processed. Newspaper articles, government documents, 400+ books (available in Archives & Special Collections), and other related material may be found searching the Criss Library catalog

The papers reflect the complex relationship between individuals and state and federal governments. Issues of regional and national importance play out in the interactions among branches of government, within and across party lines in the Senate, and in the Senator’s representation of constituents. Hagel served on several committees addressing domestic and international issues, though his papers cover almost every issue that arose in legislation or in Nebraska. Significant events during his service include impeachment proceedings, the contested 2000 presidential election, September 11, U.S. involvement in two wars, and economic challenges.

Arthur Paul Afghanistan Collection

The Arthur Paul Afghanistan Collection has over 20,000 titles in twenty-nine different languages with approximately 75% of the titles in English. The collection includes books, journals, newspapers, reports, grey literature, maps, personal papers and organizational records, films, audio recordings, photographs, and other material. The collection spans the breadth of Afghanistan studies including history, literature, economics, education, folklore, law, agriculture, language, architecture, music, geography, and geology. The Arthur Paul Afghanistan Collection Bibliography, Volume I: Pashto and Dari Titles (1995) and Arthur Paul Afghanistan Collection Bibliography - Volume II: English and European Languages (2000) are available online from DigitalCommons@UNO.

Finding Material Overview

Archives & Special Collections offers several search tools for you to find material relevant to your research including finding aids (inventories to collections), the library catalog, and digital collections. To find the material you are seeking, you may need to utilize all of these search tools as well as others including contacting Archives & Special Collections staff. Staff are always happy to work with you on your research or other project!

New to Archives & Special Collections?

The guide Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research from the Society of American Archivists provides useful information for those new to using material in archives and special collections. 

The guide Copyright and Unpublished Material: An Introduction for users of Archives and Manuscripts Collections from the Society of American Archivists intends to answer questions you may have about archives and manuscript collection that may be protected by copyright. It is for introductory and educational purposes only.

Theses & Dissertations

A large collection of UNO Masters, Senior Honors, and Writer's Workshop theses and Ph.D. dissertations is also located in Archives & Special Collections. One copy of each thesis or dissertation, usually the original, is retained in University Archives and may not be circulated. A second copy is sent to the general circulating collection which can be located via the Criss Library Catalog or available electronically via the library's Electronic Thesis and Disserations service.

Theses and dissertations from UNL are available from DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska-Lincoln and through inter-library loan requests.