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Use Archives & Special Collections

About the University Archives & Special Collections

Although Biola was founded in 1908, the University Archives was not established until 1960. The purpose of the Archives is to collect and preserve materials relevant to the history of the school. Since historical collections require special environmental conditions, the role of the department was later expanded to also include the Rare Materials and other Special Collections.

Biola’s Digital Commons provides access to many historical Biola materials. Highlights of the Digital Commons include The King’s Business (fully searchable), archival documents and photos relating to the Hunan Bible Institute, and recordings from the Biola Hour radio show.

Founders holding biola and rosecrans street sign

Access and Use

Permission from the Archivist is required in order to examine the materials housed in this department. Access to the material is by appointment with the Archivist. The department does not have regularly set hours of service, due to minimal staffing.

Materials may only be used in the office; they may not be checked out or removed from the department. Materials may not be photocopied by users. Requests for photocopies must be approved by the Archivist and depend on the condition of the original materials.

The regular collections of the Library sometimes include circulating or reference copies of items which are also in the Archives. Please consult the Library Catalog for regular Library copies before requesting an appointment to access Archival materials.

Biola's original sign


The department contains collections which require special environmental conditions for the purpose of preservation and controlled access. There are three categories of materials:

  1. Archives - materials of historical significance to Biola University
  2. Rare Materials - rare books and other rare materials
  3. Special Collections - materials which require special storage for preservation

The Archives collections include materials concerning the history of the following organizations:

The Bible Institute of Los Angeles / Biola College / Biola University

These archives collections primarily contain materials concerning Biola's history. The collections include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Biola graduate theses and dissertations
  • Biola Faculty publications
  • Historical photographs and scrapbook collections
  • Magazines and journals published by Biola University
  • Papers of various Biola presidents and administrators
  • Publications from Biola's schools and departments
  • Works concerning the history of Biola

Arizona Bible Institute (Tucson, Arizona)

This small collection contains some of the catalogs and class yearbooks of the Arizona Bible Institute, a "sister school" to Biola.

The Church of the Open Door

This small collection includes a few bulletins and publications of The Church of the Open Door, which is now located in Glendora, CA. To contact the church archives, go to Church of the Open Door.

Hunan Bible Institute (Hunan Province, China)

This small collection includes some diaries in Chinese and a few photographs of the Hunan Bible Institute, a "sister school" to Biola.

Christian Comics

The Christian Comics Collection contains comics by Christian authors and mainstream comics that have Christian content. Our vision is that the Christian Comics Collection will be the premier collection of Christian comics in the world, providing access for researchers, students, staff, or faculty wanting to delve into the culturally rich and diverse subculture of Christian comic arts. The foundational collections are the Don Ensign (1948-2014, founder of the Christian Comic Arts Society) Collection and the COMIX35 Collection from Nate Butler. More information can be found in our Comics Collection Research Guide.

Biola's original downtown L A location

Make an Appointment with the Archives

Are you interested in making an appointment with the Library Archives staff? If so, please complete and submit the form below.

Make an Appointment with the Archives

librarian searching records