Institute for Regional Studies Archive Collection

The Institute for Regional Studies Archives primarily collects documents, photographs, publications and other items focusing on the history of North Dakota and its people.

Institute Manuscript Collection

Institute Manuscript Collection Finding Aids

The Institute for Regional Studies Archives Manuscript Collection preserves personal papers and organization records of enduring historic value to support the research needs of undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and other scholars at NDSU and beyond. The uniqueness and strength of the collection lies in its extensive holdings of more than 1,200 collections, ranging in size from a single letter to multi-box sets of business records. The collection documents such phenomena as the agricultural development of the state, particularly the bonanza farming era; the everyday life of the early pioneers; the era of the Nonpartisan League; and the women of North Dakota as seen in diaries and their varied organizations. Also documented are the lives and works of North Dakota literary figures, the state’s many ethnic groups and the development of an urban society through City of Fargo and Cass County records.

Institute Photograph Collection

Institute Photograph Collection Finding Aids

Visual images constitute one of the Institute's most valuable resources. Collecting and preserving historical images has been a primary collection focus of the Institute since its founding in 1950. The Photograph Collection numbers more than 100,000 items. The visual images preserved at the Institute touch upon almost every aspect of North Dakota life. Particular strengths include sod houses and pioneer life, all aspects of agriculture in the state, social scenes, and views of Fargo and other North Dakota cities and towns.

Over 8,500 digitized images from the Institute Photograph Collection are available on Digital Horizons. Each image on Digital Horizons includes complete descriptive information and links to related information, including how to obtain reproductions.


The Institute Manuscript and Photograph Collections are available for research in the NDSU Archives Reading Room.  NDSU Archives staff members are available to provide research assistance. Items in these collections do not circulate and are not available through Interlibrary Loan. Please contact the NDSU Archives for information about obtaining copies of materials.