Archives & Special Collections

Shepherd University's Special Collections are located on the 2nd and 3rd floors of Scarborough Library.

Shepherd University Archives is located on the 2nd floor

Special Collections, West Virginia Collection, and Rare Book Collection are located on the 3rd floor

All collections can be accessed during library hours, but it is recommended that patrons set up an appointment by contacting Christy Toms at 304-876-5419 or prior to their visit.

Shepherd College library located in Knutti Hall in 1904

Shepherd College library located in Knutti Hall in 1904

Collections and Finding Aids


Shepherd University Archive

The archvies consist of records relating to the administrative, academic, social, and cultural history of Shepherd University since its creation in 1871. These items are the legacy of the progress of education in West Virginia, the academic and social life of Shepherd University students since 1871, and the administrative process of higher education.

Current Collecting Focus: The Scarborough Library is always seeking to add new items such as photographs, audio or video recordings, documents, correspondence, diaries, scrapbooks, and ephemera from 1871 to the present that chronicle the history of Shepherd University. The library is specifically looking for items that represent Shepherd University student life such as photographs, notebooks, scrapbooks, and ephemera. The library has a strong collection of Shepherd's publications the Cohongoroota and the Picket, so we will only accept issues that fill in known gaps.

Shepherd University Digital Collection

The Shepherd University Digital Collection includes but not limited to Shepherd University's:

Current Collecting Focus:The Scarborough Library is digitizing materials from the Shepherd University Collection to make these items more accessible for research.

Special Collection

The Special Collections consists of items relating to the history of Jefferson County, West Virginia and the towns located within the county. Items include Shepherdstown family papers and correspondence which describe national, regional and local events that happened in Shepherdstown and Jefferson County. The collection is also a location for Jefferson County and its town's public and private organization to store and create greater access to their archived documents.

Current Collecting Focus: The Scarborough Library is always seeking to add new items such as photographs, oral histories (either on audio or video recordings), documents, correspondence, diaries, scrapbooks, and ephemera for Shepherdstown: 1762 to present and for Jefferson County: 1801 to present. These items will chronicle the history of Shepherdstown and Jefferson County and their inhabitants. The library also wants to work with organization in Shepherdstown and Jefferson County to help protect their archives and create access to the organization's archived material.

West Virginia Collection

The West Virginia Collection consists of items relating to the state of West Virginia's history, culture, and landscape.

Jefferson County Historic Landmarks
Commission Archive Collection

Scarborough Library is pleased to be able to house and make accessible the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission (JCHLC) Archive.

The Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission Archive exists to identify, preserve, and make available records and papers of enduring historical value. Its mission is twofold:

  • JCHLC Papers: To collect and maintain records of enduring historical value created or received by the Commission, its officers, and members. Areas of interest include: meeting minutes, financial reports, grants, press, and correspondence.
  • Historic Landmarks and Sites: To collect and maintain records and papers that support the mission of JCHLC. Areas of interest include: National Register nominations and associated forms, background information on historic landmarks, correspondence, maps, architectural surveys, and other materials pertaining to historic landmarks and towns.

Finding Aids

Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission Archive

Shepherd University History

               McMurran Hall in 1896

Shepherd University was founded as a private college in 1871 by a number of Shepherdstown residents wanting to start a "Classical and Scientific Institution." Classes at Shepherd College started in September of 1871 in McMurran Hall with 42 students. Then in February 1872 Shepherd College was established as a State Normal School by the State of West Virginia Legislation. Shepherd University was one of the six State Normal Schools to be established in West Virginia and the only one in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. Since its founding Shepherd University has grown from a State Normal School and teachers college, to a four year college in 1930, and finally to the liberal arts university in 2004. Today Shepherd University is the home for 4300 students and 36 buildings across east and west campus making it the largest higher educational institution in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.

To learn more about Shepherd University's history check out the virtual Historic Tour of Shepherd University's Campus -- which offers tours of the entire or a portion of the campus as well as a photograph gallery and Shepherd University's Legends -- or Shepherd University by Dorothy E. Hively -- a pictorial history of Shepherd Univeristy.


Shepherd University Firsts

The Shepherd University Firsts Display tells the story of historical firsts at Shepherd University by displaying original memorabilia from the Shepherd University Archive.

Shepherd University First's

Founded in September 1871 with one building and 42 students, Shepherd University has grown to have 36 buildings and over 4,000 students. Many Firsts took place over the past 141 years of Shepherd University history, in academics, athletics, social organizations, and traditions:

The Picket,Shepherd University newspaper, published its first issue on January 30, 1896. Today, The Picket has been published for over 115 years. Music has always been a staple of Shepherd's curriculum but it wasn't until 1904 that the first orchestra was assembled. Freshman traditions started about the 1930s with the wearing of a blue and gold (the college colors)beanie hat with the letter "S" enborded on the front. The organization of the first basketball and baseball teams during the 1900s marked the beginning of the university's athletic program.

You can find the Shepherd University Firsts exhibit in the display case right before you enter the library's Reading Room. This exhibit will run through the Spring 2013 semester.

To learn more about Shepherd University's history check out the Chronological Highlights of Shepherd University or the History of Shepherd webpages.

Shepherd University:
The Campus History Series

Display for the book
Shepherd University: The Campus History Series

All photographs in the case are the original photographs used by Shepherd University's own Dorothy E. Hively, Director of Disability Support Services and Associate Professor of Special Education, to create Shepherd University: The Campus History Series for Arcadia Publishing.

Front Cover of Shepherd Univeristy: A Campus Series History book

"Today, Shepherd University is recognized for its outstanding programs in liberal arts, business administration, computer and natural sciences, and professional studies. In 1871, the school opened its doors to 42 students who were guided under the leadership of its first principal, Joseph McMurran. The West Virginia Legislature passed an act in February 1872 to establish a branch of the state normal school for teacher training at Shepherd. Teacher education remained the cornerstone of Shepherd University for more than a century. This pictorial history presents how academics, athletics, and student life transformed over the decades to educate a diverse student body in more than 60 undergraduate programs and five graduate programs." (Back Cover)

QR code

Besides the "pictorial history of Shepherd University," you also have access to the Shepherd University Historic Tour website developed by Scarborough Library. The website can be found at or you can use the QR code to the right.