The Loras College Center for Dubuque History (CDH) collects, organizes, preserves, and makes accessible primary and secondary sources related to the history of Dubuque and the surrounding area; provides instruction, research assistance, and experiential learning opportunities to anyone engaged in the study of history; and guides individuals in the exploration of vocations related to archives and public history.
The Center was founded in 1976 to address a need to collect and preserve historical materials and to support the historiography of the area. It started as a small collection of books in the Wahlert Memorial Library on the Loras College Campus with the occasional addition of secondary and primary source materials. In 1983 the College hired a part-time archivist, Michael Gibson, to provide oversite and guidance to the collection. Both the CDH and the Library eventually outgrew the Wahlert building so a new Library was built, this time with a dedicated space for the CDH including a reading room, workroom, and archive. After 37 years of service, Mr. Gibson retired in 2020 and the director position was passed to Heidi Pettitt who continues to grow and care for the collection.
Loras College serves as the home and primary funder of the Center, with additional funding from grants and donations. If you would like to support our mission, please visit alumni.loras.edu/cdh to make a donation.
We also accept physical materials or digital materials related to the history of Dubuque. If you have materials such as photos, postcards, maps, diaries, letters, playbills, or anything that documents the community, please consider donating them to the CDH so we can make them available to future researchers. Donations may be tax deductible; please contact a tax professional for further guidance.