One of Special Collections and Archives’ current goals is to increase transparency in our collections, including transparency in the history of the university. In the past few years, there has been an increased interest in the early years of Wake Forest, such as the use of enslaved peoples to build the original campus and the purchasing of enslaved peoples by Wake Forest founders and faculty.

In order to highlight materials that contain documentation regarding enslaved peoples, I created a subject guide entitled “Early History of Wake Forest College, 1830-1899.” Not all materials in this guide discuss enslavement or enslaved peoples, but we thought it was important to provide historical context with as many sources from this time period as possible

In addition to creating the subject guide, we have returned to the listed finding aids to improve language and reprocess materials as needed. Not only will this help searchability for patrons, but it will assist researchers and instructors in using appropriate language when discussing extremely sensitive materials. We have also included a statement on our website for sensitive materials.

Learning more about Wake Forest’s history is not just important for students, faculty, and staff, but also to the community as a whole. Please email us at to make an appointment to view materials in our reading room. We are open Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm.