Skip to main content

Personal papers of William (Bill) Mitchell

Call Number: PP 649


William Mitchell served as the associate librarian of Special Collections at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library, part of the University of Kansas Libraries, from 1967-1999. This collection includes professional and personal correspondence, various professional and personal papers, news clippings, and other materials recording local concerns Mitchell wrote about, as well as ephemera relating to Mitchell's professional life.


  • Creation: 1919 - 2013


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biography of William L. Mitchell (1932-2023)

William Lawrence “Bill” Mitchell was born June 2, 1932, in Kansas City, Missouri, the son of William M. and Donna L. (Adams) Mitchell. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas (KU) in 1959 and then received his master’s degree in Library Science from the University of Illinois in 1960. Mitchell was a member of Beta Phi Mu, an honor society recognizing high achievement in library science and librarianship, and the Kansas Library Association (KLA).

Mitchell joined the United States Coast Guard in July 1952. After his departure from the Coast Guard in 1956, Mitchell began working as a student assistant for Special Collections in KU Libraries in 1957. Mitchell later began work with KU Libraries as a cataloger in 1971, eventually becoming chief cataloger. He was promoted to the rank of Librarian III on March 16, 1967 and encouraged work with bibliography and conservation of library materials during the remainder of his career with KU Libraries. He retired from the Kenneth Spencer Research Library (KSRL) in 1999.

The Bibliographical Society of America honored Mitchell’s contributions to librarianship by establishing the William L. Mitchell Award, given to researchers whose area of study focuses on 18th century English or English colonial periodicals.

William Mitchell married Virigina Jean Cox on May 8, 1954. Together they had a son, Cotter. Both Bill and Jean Mitchell passed away in March 2023.

[Information taken from University of Kansas University Archives morgue files, the Bibliographical Society of America, the Mitchells' obituary, and collection materials.]


8.75 Linear Feet (9 boxes + 5 oversize boxes)

Language of Materials



Collection material was arranged into series and subseries based on folder titles and general order of materials. Mitchell created the folder titles and sub-groupings, either by tying folders together with a note or by using accordion-style dividers to organize loose folders. Series groupings were created by Spencer Staff at the point of donation in 2013 and were retained when later processing the collection in 2022.

Folder titles are from Mitchell unless in [brackets], in which case processing staff derived titles based on their understanding of folder contents. Spencer staff did not break up any folder groupings created by Mitchell.

Collection was arranged into six series: Papers; Salaries; Conservation; Committees; [Community involvement]; and KU (University of Kansas). The bulk of the collection can be found in the [Community involvement] series.

Physical Location

PP 649

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, William Mitchell, 2013.

Guide to the William Mitchell Collection
Personal papers of William (Bill) Mitchell
Finding aid prepared by mmj. Finding aid encoded by mmj.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Personal papers of William Mitchell, PP 649, 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