Guidelines for Transferring Records to Archives and Special Collections

Email if you wish to initiate a donation or transfer, and an archivist will be happy to speak with you.

Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, a division of the Purdue Libraries, is the designated repository for collecting the records that document Purdue history. As part of its mission, the Archives collects records generated by Purdue staff and departments as part of official university business, as well as the personal and professional papers of distinguished Purdue faculty, staff, and alumni. University records and personal papers of noteworthy individuals affiliated with the university provide a rich source for historical research.

The following guidelines will assist individuals in identifying materials that are appropriate for transferring to the Archives.

Materials Collected by the Archives

The Archives and Special Collections is primarily interested in unpublished, original materials relating to the history of Purdue University and materials relating to the lives, careers, and accomplishments of students, faculty, staff, and alumni affiliated with Purdue University. The Archives also collects at least one copy of every publication created by Purdue University and its various departments.

The following are examples of the types of materials collected by Archives and Special Collections. This list is not comprehensive, but it includes examples of materials that have research value for studying the founding, growth, and evolution of Purdue departments and history, as well as the lives and careers of individuals associated with Purdue. If you have items that are not on this list, please ask a member of the archives staff.

Examples of Materials Collected

  • Academic papers (class notes, report cards, diplomas)
  • Audiovisual materials (films, audio and video tapes, DVDs) documenting personal and professional activities and/or Purdue University events or subject matter.
  • Biographical and genealogical information (resumes, vitae, biographical sketches, genealogies)
  • Certificates
  • Committee working files
  • Correspondence, letters, memos
    • Departmental correspondence: Outgoing and incoming letters and memoranda generated in the course of conducting university business
    • Professional correspondence: outgoing and incoming letters relating to an individual’s academic career, including correspondence with colleagues, publishers, professional organizations and students
    • Personal and family correspondence: letters to and from friends, relatives and business associates
  • Departmental and committee records (agendas, founding documents, meeting minutes, reports, strategic planning documents, files of significant committees/projects, correspondence and related material)
  • Departmental Publications: one copy of all books, journals or magazines, pamphlets, and promotional printed material generated by the department
  • Diaries, personal journals, logs
  • Digital and electronic files
  • Legal documents (for example: charters, bylaws, constitutions)
  • Manuscripts and typescripts
  • Maps and blueprints
  • Memoirs
  • Meeting minutes
  • Oral history interviews
  • Photographic material (prints, negatives, digital images)
  • Purdue University-related documents, photos, memorabilia
  • Reports
  • Research notes (designs, raw data, notes, analyses and reports of findings)
  • Scrapbooks
  • Speeches and lecture notes
  • Student activities documents (information about clubs and student organizations, etc.)
  • Teaching material: lecture notes, syllabi, course outlines, reading lists, examinations

Materials NOT Collected

  • Detailed financial records, canceled checks, and receipts
  • Non-personally addressed mail and routine letters of transmittal and acknowledgment (i.e., "Junk Mail")
  • Duplicates and multiple copies of publications, course materials, etc. (transfer one copy in good condition along with any copies that have been heavily annotated)
  • Reference collections of books, research papers, journal articles, and reprints written by other persons. (The exception to this would be publications that contain annotated remarks or notes that may provide researchers with insight into an individual’s thought process.)
  • Grade books and documents containing student grades
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Employee performance evaluations
  • Travel request forms
  • Blank forms

Packing and Transfer of Collections

Material should be packed in sturdy boxes and numbered (1 of X, 2 of X). Materials should be transferred into boxes in the same order in which the department or individual maintained them, to best reflect the functions of the department or individual.

A letter briefly identifying the material and which department or individual is donating it should accompany the transfer. Please contact the Archivist at the Contact information below when you are ready to transfer materials to the Archives.

Archival Services

All collections accepted by the Archives will be cataloged and stored securely in appropriate temperature and humidity conditions to preserve the collections as long as possible. Archives staff members are available to provide assistance to individuals interested in using the collections in the Archives Reading Room. Because the collections are unique and irreplaceable the collections may not be checked out of the Archives.

Departments or individuals interested in additional services, such as digitization or exhibit of collections should contact an archivist (contact information below) to discuss costs and details regarding these services.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact the archives by email at, by phone at (765) 494-2839, or by visiting our location inside the Humanities, Social Science & Education Library (HSSE) in Stewart Center.