Photos by Bobby Ellis. Text by Tim Obermiller.

From Beanie caps to B-Books, items preserved in Ball State’s Archives and a private collection give glimpses into the University’s vibrant history.

Located in Bracken Library, University Archives and Special Collections provides public access to objects and documents preserving Ball State’s past and present. The Archives recently opened its vaults so that Ball State Magazine could document a few of those objects, representing a span of eras that encompass the University’s 100-year history.

Several more objects for this gallery were provided by Jeff Koenker, ’74. Bracken Library’s bookstacks supervisor, he grew up near the University, where his father, Robert, was the Graduate School’s first dean.

Among the Library Archives’ most important new additions are materials provided by late-night media legend David Letterman69, who in 2015 announced his gift to Ball State of more than 1,000 items from his storied broadcasting career — including 15 Emmys, his 2012 Kennedy Center Honors medal, and even furniture from the “Late Show” set. While Archives staff continues to research and organize the collection, plans are underway for a future student immersive learning experience that will help determine how the materials should be shown and shared.