An Archive or Archives is a collection of unique primary source documents generally pertaining to a person, institution or government. Archives have been around during the times of the ancient Greeks, Chinese and Romans, though modern Archival thought and practices can be traced to 1790, when a multitude of personal, church, and governmental archives were collected and stored together in what became the French National Archives, one of the largest in the world.
Taylor University's Archives were founded gradually through the 1950's in the basement of what is now Ayres Memorial Hall (formerly Library). Over the years, members of Taylor's faculty, staff and students collected letters, publications, and other items pertaining to Taylor's past. Gradually, these items were donated to the university and stored in the basement of Ayres when it was the library. When Zondervan Library was opened in 1986, the Taylor University Archives, a secured, climate-controlled storage facility, also opened, allowing these documents and items to be sorted, organized, catalogued and stored. Over the years, people have donated artifacts from their own collections, their parent's estates, from antique stores, even E-Bay, which has given Taylor large and fairly complete Archives.
University Archives' origins stem from forward-thinking staff members who kept copies of various publications and records since the university began in 1846. The items made their way to a room in the basement of the Ayers Alumni Memorial building during the 1950's. Finally in 1986, University Archives was transferred its newly built facility off the Engstrom Galleria in the Zondervan Library building. Since then, the archives staff has worked to organize, describe, and preserve the materials.