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College Archives





Headshot of Sarah St. Germain  

Sarah St.Germain
College Archivist
P 978.867.4851

Edward Ballock
Archival Attendant
P 978.867.4851

Archives Hours

Mission & Vision Statement


The mission of the Gordon College Archives is to identify, collect, arrange, preserve, and make accessible materials that document the programs, people, and operations of Gordon College and Barrington College as well as rare and unique collections that support the College’s administration, teaching, research, and services. 

To accomplish this mission, the College Archives will:

Provide Access. The Archives supports researchers of all kinds by providing the widest possible access to the materials. 

Collect & Preserve. The Archives collects, preserves, and makes accessible college records, rare books, and special collections that relate to the teaching and mission of the college. 

Protect Gordon's Cultural Heritage. The Archives strives to collect and promote material representing a diverse prospective of the College's history. 

Encourage Discovery. The Archives enriches the curriculum of the College by providing opportunity for first-hand research and discovery of rare texts. 

What Does the Archives Do?

History of the Archives

History of the Archives

The Gordon College Archives began in 1921 when the Board of Trustees voted to accept the gift of the Edward P. Vining Library, a rare collection of Historical and Theological books. The donors, Annabel Vining Otis and Charles Otis, had connections to the College, as Charles was on the board of trustees and Annabel was the daughter of Edward P. Vining.

Until 1954, Gordon College could be found in the Back Bay area of Boston. On this campus, the Vining Collection was stored in various places, including boxed in the boiler room. After the Hurricane of 1954, the books were put at a considerable flood risk, and were moved to the new Wenham campus. The Vining Collection was kept in the basement of the Winn Library, and in later years possibly the attic.

After moving between these two locations, the Jenks extension was completed in 1987. In this new wing, a temperature controlled area was built specifically for the Vining Collection and other archived materials to be housed. The first official mention of an archives was on February 11, 1980 at an executive committee meeting of the board, when a formal Archivist position was proposed. The Archives was also to receive papers from staff, students, alumni, and others, and served the purpose of preserving the rich history of Gordon College.

Today, the Gordon College Archives continues to preserve the history of Gordon College, Barrington College, and the Vining Rare Book Collection, and educate the surrounding community about Gordon's impact in the Greater Boston Area. It has a thriving internship program that teaches students about archival work as well as participates in class visits and admissions visits for prospective students. In addition, the Gordon College Archives not only creates exhibits showcasing the Vining Collection and Gordon and Barrington history, but also participates in special outreach events to allow for the greatest number of community members to participate in the joys of the archives. 

Image: White Library, Gordon College, Evans Way, Boston, MA (1920s)

Stories from the Archives

Horses to Courses: The Property Before Gordon

Our new Gordon history exhibit was created by Archives Intern Bradley Bink. It explores the property of Gordon College when it was owned by the Prince family. Learn about Frederick Prince, Princemere, and see what Frost Hall used to look like before Gordon moved to Wenham! You can visit the exhibit in-person outside the Archives (Jenks 217) or visit the online exhibit!

Marv Wilson stands in front of shelves holding clear, plastic totes with blue covers in which is donated materials were kept before they were processed by the Archives.

Introducing the Marvin R. Wilson Jewish-Christian Relations Collection!

In August 2022, we were delighted to acquire a collection of 50 years' worth of materials from Dr. Marv Wilson. These materials help document Dr. Wilson's personal engagement as well as the wider Gordon College community's commitment to work extensively and closely with the Jewish community both locally and nationally. Our team has been hard at work getting this collection processed and rehoused in order to make it available to researchers. We are happy to announce that the Marvin R. Wilson Jewish-Christian Relations Collection is now available for researchers! You can find more about the collection and its finding aid by visiting the Collections page

Photo showing the physical exhibit set up of Digital Man. There are two vertical exhibit cases on each end with a horizontal case between them. All the cases are filled with items. There are panels and photos behind the cases on the wall.

Digital Man: The Story of Ken Olsen

Our new exhibit, Digital Man: The Story of Ken Olsen, follows the life of Ken Olsen looking at who he was as a person, what made his company Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) so important, and his lasting legacy. Ken Olsen Science Cetner (KOSC) is named after Ken and currently houses the Ken Olsen Archives which includes memorabilia, technological materials, and personal items from throughout Ken's life and from his businesses. 

The exhibit is on display in the Reference Room of Jenks Library along the blue wall near Bistro 255. It is also fully available online through our exhibits page.  

On the right is a clay tablet found in the College Archives with cuneiform writing. To the left is a portion of a page from the Vining Purchase Book wtih handwritten, cursive notes about the purchase of the tablets and other items.

Archives (Re)Discovers Clay Tablets

In February 2022, student intern Drake Sprowles ('24), helped rediscover two clay tablets in the Vining Rare Book Collection while working on comparing inventory lists of the collection! Dating roughly 2070-1658 BC these tablets are the oldest items in the Vining Collection and one of the oldest items held in the Gordon College Archives. Learn more about that tablets by reading The Bell article

Image shows two vertical, glass exhibit cases on either end of a wall with a horizontal, glass exhibit case in between them. They are filled with books and three descriptive panels are hung centered above the horizontal case.

La Imprenta en la Nueva España

Our newest Vining exhibit is up in the Reference Room. Check it out if you are interested in Spanish language materials, early printing history of Central and South America, and if you like pre-1700s books! These items are incredibly important (and cool) and we have some wonderful engravings, illustrations, and maps on show. You can also check it out on the exhibits page! (Note: A portion of the exhibit was taken down to make room for our new Ken Olsen exhibit. The books pictured in the vertical cases are no longer on display, but are still available in the online exhibit.)