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Great Midwest Trivia Contest Collection

Identifier: LU-RG00-008
This collection contains materials pertaining to the Great Midwest Trivia Contest, an annual contest held at Lawrence University and broadcast over the campus radio station, WLFM, since 1966. The bulk of the collection consists of photographs, newspaper articles, and other publicity concerning the contests from 1966 to the present, as well as the original copies of all questions asked from 1991 to the present. Team lists, posters, tee-shirts, scripts, and audio recordings of selected broadcasts are also included.


  • 1966-2023


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Lawrence University does not hold the copyright for all materials in this collection. Uses beyond those allowed for fair use under U. S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) require the researcher to secure permission from the copyright holder.


18.2 Linear Feet (22 boxes)

6.97 Gigabytes

Biographical or Historical Information

The Great Midwest Trivia Contest was started in 1966 by James B. deRosset, a Lawrence University student, as an alternative to the invitation-only "Encampment weekend" for students and faculty. Though the first contest was held in late April and involved only on-campus teams, subsequent contests were held in earlier months of the year and included teams both on and off campus. The contest now customarily begins at 10:00:37 p.m. on the last Friday in January and lasts for 50 hours, ending at midnight on Sunday. In 2006, WLFM ceased FM broadcasting and the contest switched to a webcast-only format. Over the years, the contest has received a good deal of local, regional, and national publicity, including articles in Playboy, the Chicago Tribune, and The New York Times. It is often touted as the longest-running college trivia contest, due to its practice of beginning each contest with the last question asked from the previous year's contest.

Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged in five series: Series 1: Contest files, 1966-2019 Series 2: Questions, 1991-2021 Series 3: Recordings, 1983-2007 Series 4: Subject files, 1967-1988 Series 5: Tee-shirts, 1976-2015 Series 6: Accession 2020-05, 1977-2019

Method of Acquisition

Materials in this collection have been collected over time, beginning at an unknown date prior to July 2005. Questions are donated annually by the Trivia masters. Accession 2020-05 included materials from the 2020 contest as well as digital materials, t-shirts, posters, and video from previous years.

Accruals and Additions

Materials on the Great Midwest Trivia Contest will continue to be collected and placed in this collection by the University Archivist.

Processing Information

Preliminary processing was done prior to 2005, date and processor unknown. Further processing and finding aid completed by Erin Dix in 2011. Processing of Accession 2020-05 done by Lina Rosenberg Foley.


Archon Finding Aid Title
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Lawrence University Archives Repository

Seeley G. Mudd Library
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Appleton WI 54911 US
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