The Area Research Center at the University
of Wisconsin-River Falls is one of thirteen such centers associated
with the State Historical Society of Wisconsin in cooperation with twelve
University of Wisconsin four-year institutions and the Northern Great
Lakes Visitor Center at Ashland. The goal of each Area Research Center
is to build comprehensive collections documenting the history of its
region and to make these collections easily accessible. In addition
to preserving local records, the Centers comprise a statewide network,
whose purpose it is to identify, collect, and house archives, manuscripts,
photographs, and related materials and to encourage their use.
The River Falls
Area Research Center, formerly known as the St. Croix Valley Historical
Research Center, was formally established in 1962. The collection, however,
dates back at least to the 1934 founding of the State Teachers College
Historical Society and Museum, by Dr. Walker Wyman of the University’s
History Department. One of the earliest of the thirteen centers comprising
the state network, it was originally administered jointly by the Department
of History and the Chalmer Davee Library; supervision and operation
of the River Falls Center became solely the responsibility of the library
the River Falls Area Research Center, since its formal organization,
have included John E. Lankford (1962-64), James T. King (1964-80), and
Timothy L. Ericson (1980-84). Susan D. Steinwall served as director
while Ericson was on leave between October 1984 to August 1987. University
Archivists, reporting to the Director, have included Deryl V. Gease
(1966-68), David J. Olson (1968-71), Patrick J. Nolan (1971-73), and
Timothy L. Ericson (1974-80). Lankford, Kind, Gease, Olson, and Nolan
were also members of the History Department faculty. Timothy D. Cary
was director from September 1987 through September 1990. Stephanie J.
Zeman served as director from October 1990 through June 1997. Susan
Ginter Watson became the director/archivist in July of 1997 and left
in January 2005. Stephanie J. Zeman returned as interim archivist 2005-06.
In approximately 2003, the title of the head of the department changed
to archivist, as opposed to director, to correctly reflect UW System
of the River Falls Area Research Center are concerned primarily with
the history of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and Pierce, St.
Croix, Polk, and Burnett counties of northwestern Wisconsin. Additionally,
limited materials pertaining to several of the adjoining counties in
eastern Minnesota are included. The original records and papers, local
histories, genealogies, government documents, university records, newspapers,
maps, oral histories, and photographs which comprise the collections
of the Center are intended for the use by both the university community
and the general public.
Arrangement: The collection is arranged
alphabetically by filing unit and then chronologically by document.
However, correspondence, which is organized first by calendar year,
is then arranged alphabetically by correspondent. Also, Area Research
Center accessions for local donors are now in the collection file, listed
by collection name.
Parts of this series are restricted, such as the correspondence with
patrons, for privacy rule reasons. Please consult
with the archivist if there are questions.