The University Archives was established in 1976. It contains a wide variety of materials that relate to the history of Eastern Kentucky University including: the official and personal papers of past Eastern presidents; minutes of the Board of Regents and Faculty Senate meetings; a complete set of University catalogs and Milestone yearbooks; faculty publications; files of the newspaper; student government records; personal papers of faculty members; files from numerous offices and departments; campus photographs dating from 1906; films and videotapes of Eastern athletic events; and memorabilia donated to the university by members of the faculty, staff, and alumni groups.
Of particular importance is the John Wilson Townsend Kentuckiana book collection which contains nearly 25,000 volumes by Kentucky authors or about Kentucky or Kentuckians. Many are autographed first editions. An original collection of 1,700 volumes was purchased in 1930 from Mr. Townsend, a Kentucky man-of-letters, and forms the basis of the current collection. Through the years many genealogical materials of local and regional interest have been added to the Townsend collection.