This paper traces the historical development of archivists and archival programs in institutions of higher education, from their existence as a handful of manuscript repositories in the 1930s to the creation in 1979 of the Society of American Archivists's College and University (C&U) Professional Affinity Group representing 40 percent of the society's membership. The evolution of C&U activities is illustrated using surveys of academic archivists, publication projects, and education and training programs. The role of academic archivists within their institutions, their influence on the wider profession and on archival institutions, and the increasing importance of their collections are examined in detail.

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