In the aftermath of NC State's 50th anniversary in 1939, Librarian Harlan Brown and History Professor David A. Lockmiller suggested to Dean of Administration (later Chancellor) John W. Harrelson that an informal collection of historical materials be established. Little was done until 1953 when Harrelson retired and began to systematize the holdings. After his death in 1955, former Director of the Agricultural Extension Service Ira O. Schaub and History Professor Stuart M. Noblin worked briefly with the collection.
Creation and Evolution of the Archives
By 1962 the archives had reached such size and complexity that an archival program was needed. In accordance with the General Statues of North Carolina, the North Carolina Department of Archives and History authorized the university for appropriate disposition of its records, including creation of a campus archives for records with continuing administrative, legal, and historical value. In 1965 the General Assembly authorized creation of the office of University Archivist, located administratively in the Office of the Provost. In August 1965, Maurice S. Toler was appointed as the first University Archivist.
In 1990, the University Archives was transferred from the Office of the Provost to the NCSU Libraries. It became part of the Special Collections Department (later Special Collections Research Center) when that unit was created in 1993. After Maurice Toler retired in 1997, subsequent University Archivists have been Russell Koontz (1997-2002) and Todd Kosmerick (2004- ).