Special Collections collects materials of noted adherents to the Christian faith, particularly those who have a significant relationship with Wheaton College and/or evangelical Christianity. The College Archives, the preeminent collection within Special Collections, documents the history of Wheaton College, and its predecessor, the Illinois Institute.
The College Archives serves as a major information source for people, publications, and events associated with Wheaton College. Begun in earnest around the time of Wheaton’s Centennial celebration in 1960, the history of the College Archives goes back decades earlier when Julia Blanchard, the grand-daughter of Jonathan Blanchard and former college librarian, was named Archivist.
Special Collections was begun in the late 1960s and had its first growth spurt in the 1970s. The first major donation was a substantial rare book collection from William S. Akin. Several years later the trustees of Wheaton College authorized the Madeleine L’Engle Collection and this beloved author made Wheaton the official repository of her papers.