Special Collections and Archives holds nearly 350 manuscript collections of letters, journals, diaries, scrapbooks, photographs, and other primary source material that documents many aspects of Idaho history, particularly the Boise and Treasure Valley Region. Research topics include politics, environment, Basque culture, religion, filmmaking, literature, performing arts, art, ethnicity, gender, geosciences, and many others.
Search finding aids/collection inventories for people, topics, and organizations.
The following collections have inventories that allow for keyword searching and data export:
Donate Local History
Our political collections span from early 20th century through early 21st century. The two largest political collections include Senator Frank Church, and Governor and Secretary of the Interior Cecil Andrus. Other collections include Len Jordan, Gracie Pfost, Kitty Gurnsey, Nicole LeFavour, Larry LaRocco, Walt Minnick, and Sue Reents.
Many of our collections connect to Idaho’s environmental history through politics, activism, employment, conservation, or recreation. Notable collections include Frank Church, Cecil Andrus, Ted Trueblood, Snake River Alliance, Marshall C. Edson, Edward Rhodenbaugh, Robert Limbert, Len Jordan, Larry LaRocco, Bethine Church, and others.
Notable collections are Pete Cenarrusa, Espe Algeria, Moore-Cunningham-Bettis family papers, Gloria Totoricaguena, and Frank Church.
We are the repository for the Episcopal Diocese of Idaho, and also hold other small religious collections including Church Women United, Stan Tate, Christ Chapel Historical Society, and Norman L. Foote.
The signature collection is the papers of Nell Shipman, silent film director/writer/producer/actress. We also collect movies about Idaho or written/produced by Idahoans, supplemented by Tom Trusky’s research on Idaho films.
Extensive holdings on Idaho authors of poetry, fiction, short stories, screenplays, and other literature, including Nell Shipman, Ted Trueblood, Scott Preston, Donna Fletcher Crow, Paul Tracy, Lorna Tracy, Charles David Wright, Glenn Balch, Clara Spiegel, William Studebaker, The Cabin, Gloria Skurzynski, Virginia Stough, William C. Anderson, Vardis Fisher, William M. Koehler, Nona Tatum Ziegler, Helen Olsen, Penelope Reedy, and others.
We are the repository for the Idaho Shakespeare Festival and the Trey McIntyre Project, and also have collections about Boise vaudeville, Music Week, and Gene Harris. Of note is the complete digital collection of Ione Love Thielke, Idaho’s Musical Poem Recorder and the Peter Beemer songbook.