University Archives Holdings

Records of AUC Offices and Departments

The official records created by offices and personnel at AUC reflect the structure, development, and operations of the university and its units, and span the history of AUC from 1914 to the present. Types of documents typically found in the records include reports, external correspondence and internal memoranda, personnel files, financial documentation, and subject files.

Records are open for research, subject to the following access conditions:

  • Records of AUC offices, departments, and other units are closed to researchers for 15 years from the date they were created.
  • Records of AUC’s Board of Trustees, such as meeting minutes, are closed for 25 years from the date of creation.
  • Personnel Records (such as a personnel file) are closed for research for 50 years after the employee’s departure from AUC.
  • Student Records are primarily in custody of AUC’s Office of the Registrar, but for other student records University Archives and AUC Records Management staff act in accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974/1976 (FERPA), limiting access to the education records of living students or living former students to that student (upon written request), with restrictions lifted 75 years after their departure from the university.
  • AUC publications, photographs, oral histories, websites, and reference materials are all open for use.

Records maintained by the University Archives include those of:

  • Governing Bodies and Committees Board of Trustees, Administrative and Academic Committees, Ad Hoc Committees, etc.
  • Administrative Offices and Services Units: President, Provost, Deans of Schools, Financial Officers, Student Affairs Offices, Fundraising Offices, Libraries, etc.
  • Academic Departments and Research Centers: Departments across all disciplines, including predecessor units and defunct ones like the Desert Development Center.

In documenting the activities of AUC, the records also reveal the wider social, political, and educational environment within which AUC operated, such as:

  • Missionary activities in Egypt
  • Egyptian government policies on higher education
  • United States government relations with Egypt
  • Conditions in Egypt during wartime and times of crisis
  • Development of disciplines like Middle East Studies at universities around the world
  • Social science research and non-governmental organization activities in Egypt from the 1920s to the present


The University Archives contains items published by AUC dating from its founding era in the 1910s through the present.  The Archives actively collects publications produced in both printed form (housed at the University Archives) and digital format (available through AUC’s Digital Archive and Research Repository and Rare Books and Special Collections Digital Library). Holdings include:

  • Catalogs and directories
  • Magazines, journals, and newsletters
  • Promotional material for AUC and its various units
  • Policies and procedures documents and handbooks
  • Reports
  • Event-related materials (such as commencement programs)
  • Student publications like student newspapers (The Caravan) and yearbooks
  • The material produced by student and faculty organizations, including reflecting causes and demonstrations
  • Books published by the AUC Press


The University Archives maintains a substantial photograph collection covering the people, places, and events of AUC from the 1920s through the present day. These prints, negatives, and digital images depict:   

  • AUC’s campus and buildings
  • Classroom teaching and other academic pursuits
  • Student life, including activities and organizations, social settings, and athletics
  • Alumni
  • Faculty, staff, and administrators across the university and its units
  • Ceremonial events such as commencement, awards, inaugurations, and commemorations
  • Social events, meetings, and demonstrations
  • The arts at AUC, including theater and musical performances, and exhibitions
  • Visits by prominent individuals in the arts, academia, business, government, religion, and other fields, as well as lectures and conferences

Historical Reference Collections

Several collections, assembled from various sources, offer reference material on the history of AUC. These include:

  • Historical Writings and Articles: Contents range from short written reminiscences to articles and theses about the development of AUC to the published and typescript versions of Lawrence Murphy’s book The American University in Cairo: 1919-1987.
  • Subject Files: Contain material on various topics related to AUC history, such as AUC during times of war, women at AUC, and the university logo.
  • Biographical Files: Files on significant individuals at AUC throughout its history.
  • Oral History Transcripts: Transcripts of interviews conducted with AUC administrators, faculty, staff, alumni, and students in the late 1960s and early 1970s and from 2005 to the present day.
  • Campus and Buildings Files: Include documents (reports, inauguration programs, news clippings, etc.) on the acquisition, planning, construction, locations, and other aspects of the university’s campuses and buildings.
  • Newspaper and Magazines Clippings: Extensive chronological files containing newspaper and magazine articles covering AUC, dating from 1916 to the present day.

Oral Histories and Audiovisual Recordings

The University Archives holds sound and motion image recordings depicting life and events at AUC throughout its history.  Recordings are available in digital form (many available through the Rare Books and Special Collections Digital Library),  recorded digitally or digitized from original VHS, audiocassette, reel-to-reel film or other analog media.

  • Oral History interview Recordings: Oral history interviews conducted with AUC administrators, faculty, staff, alumni, and students are available as digital audio files.  The interviews, conducted in the late 1960s and early 1970s and since 2005, cover aspects of the university such as the development of its academic programs, its administration, physical setting, and student life.
  • Promotional and historic films about AUC: In addition to some film footage dating to the 1930s, the Archives contains a number of promotional films produced by AUC between the 1960s and 1980s.
  • Events at the university: Ranging from ceremonies like commencements and memorial services, to visits by prominent speakers, to arts performances and student activities - are documented by video and audio recordings.  Most of these date from the mid-1980s through the early 2000s.

Websites About AUC

The Web Archive at AUC contains archived versions of the official AUC website dating back to 2009.  Blogs, social media sites, and other websites related to the university are also collected.

Faculty and Alumni Personal Papers

The Archives maintains personal papers collections of a number of AUC faculty members. The collections include those contributed by prominent scholars in disciplines such as Anthropologist Cynthia Nelson, Sociologist Saad Eddin Ibrahim, Physicist Salah Arafa, and Islamic Art and Architecture scholar George Scanlon. Collections of AUC Alumni whose papers are maintained by the Rare Books and Special Collections Library include those of activist Aziza Hussein and Photographer Van-Leo.

See Donating to the RBSCL for details on donating faculty and alumni personal papers collections to the Library.

Theses and Dissertations and Student Records

The University Archives holds a collection of undergraduate theses written between 1940 and 1968, but most theses and dissertations produced by AUC students are housed outside of the University Archives:

  • Master’s degree theses for the program in Islamic Art and Architecture are kept in the Rare Books and Special Collections Library open stacks.
  • Master’s and PhD Theses in all other disciplines can be found in the Main Library; consult the Library Catalog for details and location. Theses submitted since spring 2010 are available in AUC’s Repository (FOUNT) as well as in printed form.

Student-related material is contained in many University Archives collections, but official student records like transcripts are the responsibility of the Office of the Registrar, whose contact information is available on the AUC website. Documentation related to various academic programs should be requested from department offices.  The University Archives can provide copies of course and program descriptions from the university catalog as well as lists of graduates from commencement programs.