The University Archives is the memory of the College of William and Mary, documenting its history from before the founding in 1693 to the present. The wide variety of materials relating to the College and its people through the years includes official records created in the College's daily operations, photographs, publications, video and audio tape recordings, personal papers and books or articles written by or about past or current William and Mary people, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, and artifacts.
Time has taken its toll on the records of the College. The Wren Building, the main campus building, burned in 1705, 1859, and 1862, destroying many of the original records. Occupation of the Wren Building by military units during the American Revolution and the Civil War also did significant damage to the records. There is, however, still a wealth of information on all eras of William and Mary's history. Late nineteenth and twentieth-century materials comprise the bulk of the Archives collection, although a number of earlier documents do still exist. From 1888 on, most of William and Mary's vital records are intact and available, either in paper copy or on microfilm.