ETH Zurich University Archives

The ETH Zurich University Archives are responsible for safeguarding, indexing and mediating any documents of lasting value that belong to ETH Zurich and the ETH Board. They also look after personal scientific papers. Permanently updated documentation on the history of science and the university rounds off the archival holdings and offers researchers biographical information on prominent figures from the university's past. 

Administrative records

Since they were established in 1999, the ETH Zurich University Archives have systematically acquired documents of archival value from the administration of ETH Zurich and the ETH Board. Before that, ETH Library only occasionally acquired older individual records.

Holdings

  • Presidential decrees, minutes of meetings and records of the Swiss School Board (1854 to 1992)
  • Documents from organisational units of the ETH Board (since 1993)
  • Documents from the Executive Board and organisational units of ETH Zurich (since 1854)

The Federal Act on Archiving (ArchA) (external link) serves as the basis for the acquisition, storage and use of the archival material. Organisational units of ETH Zurich and the ETH Board are subject to a duty to provide information.

Based on the ArchA and taking the principle of public access into account, records are subject to a protection period of thirty years. In the case of personal data that is particularly worthy of protection, this protection period increases to fifty years.

  • Pre-archiving consultation: the ETH Zurich University Archives advise organisational units on the maintenance and development of conventional record systems and digital record management, and helps them fulfil their duty to provide information in accordance with the Federal Act on Archiving (ArchA) (external link).
  • Long-term preservation of digital documents: the ETH Zurich University Archives also acquire and index genuine digital documents from organisational units at ETH Zurich and the ETH Board, and ensures the long-term curation and accessibility of digital data of archival value in collaboration with the Digital Curation Office.

Personal papers, donations, individual acquisitions

Ever since it was founded, ETH Library has received document donations from people connected to ETH Zurich. In exceptional cases, however, documents of particular value are purchased for ETH Zurich. Moreover, the University Archives also acquire archives from associations and societies that are near and dear to ETH Zurich.

Holdings (selection)

  • Work psychology, psychology: C.G. Jung Papers Collection, Hans Biäsch
  • Astronomy: Rudolf Wolf, Alfred Wolfer, Max Waldmeier
  • Civil engineering: Karl Culmann, Robert Maillart, Fritz Stüssi
  • Chemistry: Richard Willstätter, Vladimir Prelog, Leopold Ruzicka
  • Geology and the natural sciences: Arnold Escher von der Linth, Oswald Heer, Louis Rollier, Karl Mayer-Eymar, Albert Heim, Arnold Heim
  • Mathematics: Paul Bernays, Wilhelm Fiedler, Heinz Hopf, Adolf Hurwitz, Hermann Weyl, Eduard Stiefel, Heinz Rutishauser, George Pólya
  • Physics: Erwin Schrödinger, Carl Seelig’s Albert Einstein documentation, Wolfgang Pauli (in addition to the holdings in the CERN Pauli Archive (external link))

  • Student associations: Association of Students at ETH Zurich (VSETH), Architektura, Verein der Mathematik- und Physikstudierenden an der ETH Zürich et cetera.
  • Scientific societies: Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Forschung, Swiss Mathematical Society et cetera.
  • Subject-based archives with contents related to ETH Zurich: Archives of the History of Nuclear Energy in Switzerland (business papers from the nuclear power station Kaiseraugst AG and records of key players), Gotthard Railway records et cetera.

Donation agreements, data protection and copyright determine the use and accessibility of private donations.
The University Archives endeavour to make documents available to researchers as swiftly as possible.

  • Personal papers are usually described in summary form and occasionally in detail on the Knowledge Portal and the Archivdatenbank Online (external link).
  • Holdings that are not recorded in detail electronically are indexed in full via an internal card catalogue.
  • Selected holdings are described in personal paper indexes (external link) which can be ordered as a hard copy or viewed electronically on the Knowledge Portal.
  • Personal papers and autographs are constantly digitised and rendered accessible on the web portal e-manuscripta.ch (external link) while taking the legal framework into account.
  • Order the documents you require directly from the ETH-Zurich University Archives or via this form. Please register in advance. The documents can be used on site in the Reading Room Collections and Archives