The Stanford University Archives serves as the University's collective memory. As a preeminent research center, Stanford has a responsibility to the academic community and to the public to share information regarding its development, its activities and achievements, and its challenges and solutions.

The University Archives was created in 1965 by the Stanford Board of Trustees to collect, preserve, and make available to researchers the historically and legally valuable records of the University and of Stanford community members. These records are broadly defined as all content published or manuscript, text or illustrative, paper or electronic, relating to the University, its various units and individuals. 

The Archives is committed to collecting materials that are inclusive of the broad diversity of our community members, and is also committed to providing equitable access to our collections. While the majority of researchers that access our collections are affiliated with Stanford, the University Archives makes its collections available for research regardless of academic affiliation. University Archives resources support faculty research for publications and teaching purposes, graduate student dissertations, theses, and course work, as well as undergraduate work. Archives materials are also used in a variety of external research projects, publications, news stories, exhibits, and documentaries. Primary fields of interest are history, higher education, history of science and technology, women's studies, and student life; secondary fields include every academic field taught at Stanford, as archival resources include materials relating to all Stanford departments, programs, and research units.

The University Archives serves as an important information source for campus offices (including the President and Provost, Trustees, Development, Alumni Association, Public Affairs, and News Service) and prepares exhibits of its collections both on and off campus. It provides digital surrogates and/or facsimiles of collection materials for student, faculty, and staff publications, as well as for external publications.

The University Archives also provides records management assistance to administrative, academic, and student offices to relieve crowded and costly office storage space of non-current, but historically valuable, records.