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Records of the University of Kansas' School of Engineering

 Record Group
Call Number: RG 21


This record group includes records of the University of Kansas' School of Engineering's central administrative offices, including dean's correspondence, as well as records of the various engineering departments. This typically includes correspondence, student and faculty records, and the records of special projects and programs.


  • Creation: 1888 - 2020


Conditions Governing Access

Some series in this record group will require permission from the office of origin before use. Personnel and student records are closed in accordance with applicable law. All requests are subject to review by the Archives staff to determine accessibility.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

History of the University of Kansas School of Engineering

When the School of Engineering was first founded under the leadership of Dean Frank O. Marvin, it had no dedicated building, instead sharing space with other departments in Blake and Fraser Halls. For a time the only engineering school in Kansas, it soon attracted far more students than the small shared spaces could hold. By 1906, the school had around 2,000 students, and Chancellor Frank Strong’s repeated efforts to acquire more funding for new buildings finally paid off. Budget allocations for the construction of Haworth and Marvin Halls were approved, and the two new buildings opened to classes in 1909.

From 1927-1968, the School of Engineering included architecture as part of its purview. In 1968 the School of Architecture and Urban Design became a separate entity, and Engineering went again from being the School of Engineering and Architecture to solely the School of Engineeering.

Throughout the 20th century, the School adapted to new scientific developments as the demand for new skills, such as computer or aeronautics engineering, in the job market rose. Programs that had been part of the School of Engineering in its early years, such as mining engineering and metallurgy, fell out of favor and were eventually abolished entirely. In 1957, KU acquired its first computer, and by the mid-1980s the Department of Electrical Engineering had added Computer Science to its purview and hired new professors with specialties in computing.

As new programs like Computer Engineering rose to prominence, the School of Engineering began increasingly to emphasize research and interdisciplinary education. Through research centers like the Remote Sensing Lab founded in 1964, students gained hands-on experience in their fields.

The School of Engineering, while continuing to offer courses on topics including Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering, has integrated new, modern specialties like Bioengineering into its curriculum, even further expanding and updating its course catalogue.


740 Linear Feet (690.5 boxes + 2 card file boxes, 1 volume, 203 folders, 1 oversize box, 13 oversize folders)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

Most of this record group consists of student records for School of Engineering students in the mid-to-late 20th century and early 2000s, though these records are mostly undated. Approximately two thirds of these records are for undergraduate students, while the remainder are for graduate students. In addition, the record group also contains advising records, student appointment records, and other documentation of student activity outside of the classroom.

Faculty records, especially personnel files containing hiring and payroll records, also make up a substantial part of this record group. There are also course and teaching evaluations from the late 20th century and early 2000s.

Aside from the largest range of student records that are part of the General sub-group, most of the documents are sorted by the specific School of Engineering department that created them. As such, this record group also contains faculty and student records from specific departments (for example, 21/5, the subgroup for the Department of Mechanical Engineering, contains graduate and faculty records beyond those found in 21/0). Many of the remaining department-specific documents record financial information and budget allocations for departmental projects.

This record group contains very few records from after 2010 or before 1900, and most of the records date from the mid-to-late 20th century.

Physical Location

RG 21

Other Finding Aids

Indexes available in the University Archives; contact staff for assistance if wishing to access these.


University Archives continues to add material to this collection on a regular basis.

The collection description was current as of summer 2022.

Related Materials

Serial publications for this department may be found at the same record group (RG) number.

Engineers Day photographs are available at RG 71/35.

Guide to the Records of University of Kansas
Records of the University of Kansas' School of Engineering
Finding aid prepared by jtf, Nov. 2005. Finding aid encoded by jtf, 2005. Finding aid revised by lmb, 2011; jb and mwh, 2022, 2023.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Support for inventorying of this record group was provided by the G. Baley Price Spencer Research Library Fellowship Fund.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Records of the University of Kansas' School of Engineering, University Archives, RG 21, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States