Academy Award-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams. From the Robin Williams Collection.

Contemporary Collections are a specialty of the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center. Founding Director Howard Gotlieb set the standards in the archival world for assembling contemporary archives when he began in 1963. Deflecting skepticism and criticism he set out to document the history of the twentieth century by collecting individuals who played a major role in shaping the fields of journalism, literature, poetry, theatre, film, music, politics, diplomacy, criticism and public service. His dream was to create a more comprehensive archive on these individuals by dealing with live subjects rather than just purchasing bits and pieces for sale on historical figures. In many cases he was the first to ask. Now this type of collecting is common practice by many academic repositories.

We are currently very active in continuing the practice of collecting contemporary archives from prominent individuals making their mark on the twenty-first century in all the same areas we have been pursuing. Our subjects have always reflected the curriculum of the University. Through their archives, we consider these individuals to be useful role models to our students, illustrating how a career is shaped and how destiny and experience mold one's life. The archives provide a biographical story reflecting the ups and downs and the facts and secrets of these individuals. Portrayed within these archives are poignant moments of history. Some collections are professional, some are personal and some are both.