The history of the City University of New York (CUNY)—the nation’s first urban, tuition-free public institution of higher learning and its largest urban university system—offers scholars and the public a unique and especially useful lens through which to view and consider many enduring political, social and cultural questions in American society. Faculty, staff, and students have fought to sustain the university so that it lives up to its democratic mission and the CUNY Digital History Archive aims to reflect those efforts.
The CDHA–which is both an archival repository of digital materials and a portal to already existing digital materials contained in archives across CUNY– aggregates these stories, creating connections between events and sources on the individual campuses and allowing the complexity of the historical and educational issues to be fully understood. In addition to amassing, preserving and providing access to digitized historical materials, CDHA understands its role as an active agent in providing historical context for the source materials contained in individual archival collections, thus making those materials more immediately accessible and useful for students, researchers, and the general public.
In the upcoming period, we will continue to add collections to the CUNY Digital History Archive but we also hope to raise funds to simultaneously develop the archive as a replicable model to share with other academic institutions.