The college has a long history of collecting and preserving primary resources. It is the first college founded in the newly formed United States, the first college in Maryland, and the country’s tenth oldest institution of higher learning.
Unfortunately, the campus suffered two fires, the first in 1827. Most records of the college were destroyed. A second fire occurred in 1916 in William Smith Hall. The building housed everything central to running the campus and sadly lost science and lab equipment, files, cabinets, pictures and over 4,000 volumes in the library. Again, many of the records of the college had been destroyed. Because of the fires, many of the records in the archives date from 1918. An interesting note, after the second fire, duplicates of books were donated from the presidents of Johns Hopkins University, Princeton University, and Yale University.