fbpx June 2019: The Archive of the Sterling Morton Library | The Morton Arboretum

June 2019: The Archive of the Sterling Morton Library

Sterling Morton Library Archives

International Archives week is June 3-June 9, 2019!

Founded in 1922, The Morton Arboretum has a long and rich history. The Morton family, the Arboretum property itself, and the various activities that have occured at the Arboretum all have an interesting story that demonstrate their impact on the world.

A color photograph depicting the rounded shelves with books on them, center of the library with tables, and the exit of the Sterling Morton Library.

With these unique histories come thousands of documents, articles, photographs, and other items that testify to the interesting past and impactful present and future of the Arboretum. But where are all of these materials housed? Look no further than the archive of the Sterling Morton Library!

What is an archive?
According to the Society of American Archivists, an archive is “an organization dedicated to preserving the documentary heritage of a particular group: a city, a province or state, a business, a university, or a community.” The archive of The Morton Arboretum is part of the Sterling Morton Library and collects materials that are pertinent to the Arboretum’s history, mission, and contributions.

What exactly do we have in our archival collection?

-​Papers and photographs related to the Arboretum's founder, Joy Morton, and the Morton family

-Materials documenting the ongoing operations of the Arboretum, including meeting agendas / minutes, planning documents, reports, employee announcements, and presentations

-Correspondence, documents, journals, inventories, and other artifacts related to the establishment and ongoing care of the Arboretum’s living collections

-Landscape drawings by the Arboretum’s landscape architects and garden designers

-Plans and drawings for Arboretum buildings

-Arboretum publications (Seasons, Bulletin of Popular Information, Greenmatters, etc.)

-Materials produced for the public, including brochures, mailings, posters, videos, etc.

-Photographic images in slide, print, and digital format

-Descriptions of data sets managed by the Center for Tree Science

-Historic and modern publications produced by Arboretum staff

An open binder exhibiting documents from the Sterling Morton Library's archive. In the background is a bookshelf filled with books.

Where are these items stored?
-Our physical items are stored in the Sterling Morton Library at The Morton Arboretum. Our archive is closed stacks, meaning that patrons do not go into the archive to locate materials, but a librarian will bring out any of the materials that someone is interested in looking at.

A photograph of white compacting shelving with materials on it. The remainder of the room has a cement floor and walls.

-Our digital content can be located through ACORN, the library’s digital asset management system. This is where we store and make accessible our archival finding aids, born-digital and digitized content, and host our online galleries. 


A screenshot of the ACORN homepage. It includes a bar depicting books for visual atheistic, a banner that shows various items in the collection, and links to click to take users to different collections.