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Assembly Series Lectures

Jan Taylor, president of the Association of Black Student’s program committee, stands speaking at a podium in front of a crowded Field House facility while introducing Assembly Series speaker Alex Haley in 1977.

The Assembly Series Lectures in University Archives is a collection of public lectures held at Washington University. The Assembly Series is Washington University’s signature lecture series that presents speakers to inspire discourse, complement curriculum, reflect contemporary interests, and engage the greater St. Louis community.

The lecture series first began in 1949 before officially being established and branded as the Assembly Series in 1953 and continues today. Speakers include leaders and visionaries, pioneering scientists and public intellectuals, genre-breaking artists and performers, Nobel Laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners, Supreme Court justices, and entrepreneurs.

Online Exhibition

See the Echoes of Voices Past online exhibition that highlights some of the lectures digitized as part of a preservation grant courtesy of the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).

Preservation Grant

The Washington University Libraries was awarded a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources to fund the project “Echoes of Voices Past: Preserving the Public Lectures of Washington University’s Assembly Series.” The project digitized more than 1400 audio records from Washington University’s Assembly Series Lectures collection.

For further details about the preservation grant, please see the “Washington University Libraries Awarded Grant to Preserve Assembly Series Recordings” article.

Related News

Read more about the Assembly Series project from the University Libraries’ Fall 2022 Off the Shelf magazine article “Assembly Series Lectures: Recorded Voices Digitized and Revived.”

Learn more about the Assembly Series digitization project in the Fall 2022 Washington Magazine article “Preserving a university tradition.”

For more information on famous figures who have participated in the Assembly Series and their impact on the Washington University community, see the Washington Magazine article “Echoes of voices past.”

Virtual Event

The Washington University Libraries hosted a virtual event on November 3, 2022, about the impact of the Assembly Series on the Washington University community across the years and to hear more about the grant work.


Special Collections, Special Collections, Preservation, and Digital Strategies
Sonya Rooney
Job Title
University Archivist
Phone Number
(314) 935-9730