The papers primarily relate to the administration of the University, though a large amount of this archive also concerns the various committees responsible for overseeing the founding of the University as well as its construction. The large photograph collection traces the construction works by department or by block, including the student accommodation generally known as the Towers. Also included are extensive inquiries and reports on the student disturbances that occurred at the University in 1968 and 1974. The various sections reflect the administrative history of the University of Essex.
The content can be summarized as follows:
- Minutes of the various committees comprising the University administrative and governmental system: Development committee (1963 - to date), Finance Committee (January 1963 - November 1998), General Committee of Senate (October 1968 - March 1996), Academic Planning Committee (1984 - 1986), University of Essex Council (1971 - date), the Senate (1965 - date), the Council and Standing Committee of the Council (1964 - date), Council of Government (September 1962 - February 1970), the Court, including University accounts (1965 - to date).
- Minutes of various other committees: meetings of academic staff (1963-64); Safety Committee (1975 - to date), Social Policy Committee, Student Affairs Committee / Social Policy Committee (1969 - 1972), Library Committee (1964 - 1987), Catering Committee.
- Press cuttings (1959 - to date)
- Material relating to the Essex Students' Union (1973-1997)
- Foundation Fund papers, plus endowments and appeals to potential benefactors, as well as other material relating to the first years of the University - site assessment and development, Charter and Statutes.
- University publications and memorabilia. Also includes University Newsletters and press statements (1965 - 1986), Essex Calendars (1965 - 1996), Prospectuses (1995 - 2000).
- Report of the Tribunal of Enquiry 1968 and Report of the Annan Enquiry 1974, plus related material, including pamphlets.
- Photographs of: building construction by department and by block; staff and students in 1963; staff and students in 1980.