Planning a visit to the Webster University Archives

If you live outside of the St. Louis area, please see our Information for Remote Researchers page.


Determine your research needs

When you call to set up your initial visit, you will need to describe your research needs in detail so that the staff can identify relevant materials in the collection. You may wish to consider the types of materials that could be useful (i.e. photos, student publications) or time periods of interest. See our Collection Descriptions page for some description of the general types of materials available. At this time, most of the materials are not cataloged in the main library catalog or indexed in any database. You will need to work closely with the Archives staff who have extensive experience with the materials in the collection. 


Make an appointment

Use of the archives is by appointment only.


To discuss your research topic and to arrange an initial visit to the archives, please submit your questions to:



phone: 314-968-6950  |  toll free: 1-800-985-4279


Due to the limited staff available to assist with archival research, we ask that you email or call first rather than come by unannounced. Archival materials are kept in special storage rooms and only small quantities may be brought out for research use at any one time. Additional visits may be required depending on the quantity of material you need to use. All materials must be used in the library during hours specified by the University Archivist.


Access to the Library building

Access to the Emerson Library building is limited to Webster University and Eden Theological Seminary students, faculty, and staff. Visitors and alumni who wish to visit the Library should contact the circulation desk to coordinate building access.


Circulation Desk contact information


phone: 314-246-6952 or toll free: 1-800-985-4279


Check in with Archives staff

After gaining access to the Library building, please come to the Research Services Desk on the second floor of the library the day of your appointment and ask to speak with the Archivist. The Archivist will go over anything you need to know about using the materials. You will be asked to show a photo I.D. and to sign for the materials you will use.


Use materials safely

Many materials are organized in folders and stored in archival boxes. To keep everything in order, only take one folder at a time out of the box. Finish with the items in the folder, place the folder back in the box, and remove the next folder. It's easy to get things mixed up and in the wrong folder if you try to work with too many at once.


Unfortunately, many materials from the archives are in fragile condition and require special handling procedures. Some materials may not be available for photocopying. Please make sure your hands are clean when handling items from the archives. In general, keep materials away from:


  • food and drink
  • pens and other ink sources
  • sticky notes, paperclips, rubberbands, etc.

Take careful notes

Although you will be able to photocopy many of the materials you find in the archives, there may be some for which you will need to take notes by hand or on your computer. Be sure to write down as much information as possible about the item, such as author, title, date, etc. Check the style manual that you will be using to see how to list materials such as unpublished letters and reports in your bibliography.


Obtain copies of materials

In general, most printed documents will be available for photocopying unless they are in extemely fragile condition. The archivist will let you know what can and can't be copied. Be sure to handle items carefully when placing them on and taking them off the photocopiers. Additional information on getting reprints or digital scans of photographs or reproductions of other materials is discussed in the section, Copy Policies and Procedures.


Getting a copy of an item of the archives does not mean you can use it on a Web site or in a media production or publish it yourself. Materials in the archives may be protected by the copyright laws of the United States of America. Users are responsible for securing any necessary copyright and reproduction permissions. Materials used in any publication or production must include an acknowledgment to the "Webster University Archives".


Return materials at the end of your visit

When you are finished, return all materials in their original folders, boxes, etc. If you need another appointment, let the librarian know that you will need to come back and look at the materials again.