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Archives and Special Collections

A quick guide to understanding and using DMU's archives and special collections.

What is an archive?

An archive is a collection of documents and records from an institution, place, or group.

So what does that mean?

The DMU Archives contain the history of Des Moines University through its many name changes, physical locations, and over 100 years of existence. It is open to the public for anyone who wishes to utilize it for research. These records come in many formats including paper, photographs, DVDs, film, art, and more.

What is a special collection?

A special collection is a group of specialized items that are often rare or valuable.

In the case of DMU's Special Collections, we focus on the history of medicine. We have rare and historical medical books, film, art work, medical artifacts, and much more, dating from the 17th century to the 21st. These are also available to be utilized by the public for research purposes.

Using Materials

Our rare books and archival materials do not circulate, nor are they available through interlibrary loan.

Materials in the historical book collection may be used in the Kendall Reed Rare Book Room which is located in the University Library, on the second floor of the Student Education Center.

Ask the Archivist!

Kay Grigsby, Archives and Special Collections Librarian.

If you are interested in any materials, please make an appointment with our librarian by contacting or 515-271-1428.

Des Moines University Library