University Archives and Special Collections

Welcome to the Alabama A&M University Archives and Special Collections. These digital collections house digital reproductions and descriptions of photographs, posters, drawings, objects, ephemera, and manuscripts that convey the rich history of our institution and the surrounding community.

Alabama A&M University Campus Queens
Selecting a campus queen represents a longstanding tradition at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University, dating back to the coronation of Miss Alabama A&M College (A&M College) in 1949. According to university historical records, the first Miss A&M College was crowned and presented during the school’s 1948 Homecoming celebration. The campus Homecoming Queen was selected and crowned at halftime during the homecoming football game, while Miss A&M College was crowned immediately following the game. The election process for Miss Alabama A&M University (AAMU) begins in the spring semester preceding the prospective candidates’ senior year. The successful candidate must be a person of high moral conduct and possess boundless school pride and spirit. She must be prepared to serve an integral role at the University, which includes being well-versed in public speaking, maintaining a positive public appearance and self-image, and serving as a university spokesperson. Miss AAMU should excel academically, maintain social and public commitments, and be comfortable in the public eye while serving in this position. The official position is embraced as an addition to the Student Government Association (SGA) and adds vigor to the spirit of the University for former, current, and future Normalites while exemplifying the motto of University, “Service is Sovereignty.” It is throughout these achievements that a queen is recognized and selected., A collection of images featuring Alabama A&M's Campus Queens, 1949-present.
Alabama A&M University Publications
The Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University is a land-grant University. Its support comes from the State of Alabama and federal funds appropriated to assist in carrying on work stipulated by the Morrill Acts 1862 and 1890. The University is under the control of a board of trustees appointed by the Governor, who serves as ex officio Chairman. The university was organized in 1875 as the result of a bill passed in the State Legislature in 1873 and through the continued efforts of its first principal and president, William Hooper Councill, an ex-slave. The school opened on May 1, 1875, as the Huntsville Normal School with an appropriation of $1,000 per year, 61 students, and two teachers. Industrial education was introduced around 1878. It attracted wide attention, and the school was assisted financially by the Slater and Peabody Funds and by private contributors. The work in industrial education was so successful that the State Legislature authorized the name to be changed to the “State Normal and Industrial School at Huntsville.” The appropriation was increased by the State to $4,000 per year. In 1891, the school became the recipient of a part of the Federal Land-Grant Fund provided by an act of Congress, approved August 30, 1890. The purpose of this fund was to further training in agricultural and mechanical arts in the various states at the college level. The name of the school was changed again to “The State Agricultural and Mechanical College for Negroes,” and a new location was provided at Normal, Alabama, where the school would have ample room for the development of its trades and agricultural programs. In 1919, the institution became a junior college, and its name was changed to “The State Agricultural and Mechanical Institute for Negroes.” In 1939, by authority of the State Board of Education, the Institute was permitted to offer work on the senior college level. The first graduation class since 1920 received the bachelor’s degree in 1941, and on January 14, 1948, the name was again changed to “Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College.” On June 26, 1969, the Alabama State Board of Education, the governing body of the institution, adopted a resolution changing the name of the institution to “Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University.” The University received a “Class A” rating by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in August 1946 and became a fully accredited member of the Association in December 1963. Alabama A&M University is a dynamic and progressive institution with a strong commitment to academic excellence. The picturesque campus is situated on what many alumni and friends fondly refer to as “The Hill”, only a few miles from downtown Huntsville. Serving about 6,000 students, the institution is a diverse and vibrant microcosm of the larger world around it, attracting visits of 19 Nobel Laureates. Alabama A&M University offers numerous degree programs, including the Ph.D. degrees in Applied Physics, Food Science, Plant and Soil Science and Reading/Literacy. Taken from:
Campus Buildings
This collection briefly describes structures located on the campus of Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University.
The National Coalition of Black Development in Family and Consumer Sciences
The National Coalition of Black Development in Family and Consumer Sciences, Inc. (NCBDFCS) was founded in 1980 with the vision to enhance and strengthen the presence of family and consumer sciences programs in traditionally black institutions, to coalesce with other organizations to ensure the continued advancement of the profession, to provide support and career development for the next generation of black professionals, and to recognize and record the contributions of professional of African descent. Learn more about the coalition at their website:
The Presidential Collection
Alabama A&M University (AAMU) has had eleven presidents and four interim presidents, ranging over a period from 1875 till today. A lot of things have changed since our first president, William Hooper Councill, was born into slavery and overcame it to become a teacher, lawyer, politician, newspaperman, civil rights leader and college founder. Like William Hooper Councill, each president has risen to the challenges he or she faced in their tenure and have left AAMU better than they found it.
Trenholm High School
The Trenholm High School collection contains objects representing Trenholm High School, which served over 90 years as a center of culture, recreation, and education for African Americans in the Shoals area of northern Alabama. Trenholm High school received its name in 1921, in honor of the educator George Washington Trenholm (1872-1926). G. W. Trenholm was the principal of the school - then called the Tuscumbia Colored School - from 1896 through 1916, later moving on to become the president of Alabama State University. In the fall of 1966, Trenholm High School students began transferring to nearby Deshler High School as part of Tuscumbia’s desegregation plan; the school was closed in 1969 and the buildings subsequently torn down. At AAMU, we are proud to preserve an important part of Trenholm legacy, and to share a digital collection of Trenholm Wildcats memorabilia with the local community and world at large.
University Resolutions
Resolutions are issued by the president of Alabama A&M University to officially recognize an individual for their contributions to their community and the university.