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Department of Special Collections and University Archives

Gift Policy

The Department of Special Collections and University Archives is frequently given materials, books, manuscripts, photographs, and other items. Traditionally only the department heads have been authorized to accept gifts in kind. At this time, specific members of the Special Collections staff may accept gifts for the department, using the collection and acquisitions policies as guides, or in consultation with faculty or others, should that be appropriate.

There are four basic forms of donation: financial, standard gift, “over the transom” donation, and archival transfer.

  • We do not accept financial gifts in this office. Those must be sent through the Development Officer.
  • A standard gift is one that we have agreed to take, and a signed Deed of Gift has been generated. The majority of our gifts are of this nature, and therefore are assumed to meet our Collection Development policy.
  • An “over the transom” gift is one that has just shown up unexpectedly, through the mail, or anonymously dropped off. Many of our best and favorite acquisitions have been of this unexpected nature. Special Collections and University Archives is under no obligation to return this sort of gift. If such a gift does not meet the Collection Development scheme, an effort will be made to return it or to find an appropriate new home. Failing that, the gift may be discarded.
  • An Archival transfer is sent to us from elsewhere in The University System to be housed in University Archives. These will generally be accepted and sent to archives. There will be no acknowledgement of this transfer unless one has been requested.

How a gift is assessed and processed:

The following procedures are followed in each case:

  1. Assessment. Examine the materials. Does the material fit within the Collection Development policy? This can be tricky, since this is a subjective judgment. However, if the offered donation does not fit within the scope of the collections, it should be declined.
  2. A Deed of gift is required for all accepted gifts with a known donor. A basic description of the material should be included as well as any restrictions or stipulations provided by the donor. A Deed of Gift can only be accepted and signed by the Director of Special Collections,  or the Dean of the Library. A copy of the deed of gift and ancillary documentation then go into a hardcopy file. A digital copy will be attached to the electronic Accession Record.
  3. Archive records. Most archival material is transferred from University offices to the University Archives.  In general these items are reviewed by the department head before being transferred. If materials cannot be reviewed by the department head, items may be delivered before review. Gifts from individuals to the University Archives are handled like other gifts to the department.