Donating Materials

Preserving the History of Boston's Diversity

For more than a decade, the Archives and Special Collections Department has been striving to preserve the history of Boston's diversity. Working with advisers from Boston's African American, Chinese, gay and lesbian, and Latino communities, department staff identifies, preserves, and makes accessible historical records relating to social justice. These primary source materials are used by community members, students, faculty, scholars, journalists, and others from across the world to tell stories that might otherwise go untold.

What to Donate

If you are interested in donating organizational records or personal papers to Northeastern, please contact the University Archivist and Head, Special Collections Department, Joan Krizack (617.373.8318; Staff will work with donors of appropriate material to identify specifically what should be preserved. Lists of types of material that are often important follow. Please note that these lists are suggestive rather than prescriptive.

Records of Organizations:

Administrative Records
Constitution/bylaws, reports (annual and planning), correspondence, memoranda, meeting minutes, agendas, and attachments (for annual and committee meetings), publications (newsletters, brochures, etc.), annual budgets, financial statements and audit reports, job descriptions, newspaper clippings about the organization, organizational charts and historical summaries, policy and procedure manuals, press releases and public relations material, fund-raising materials

Program Records
Audio visual materials (photographs, video and audio tapes), planning documents, program evaluations, project reports, training manuals

Records of Individuals:

Letters, diaries, speeches, scrapbooks, autobiographical sketches, photographs, films, audio and video tapes, and professional files.

The Donation Process

Because the research value of historical materials may be diminished if items are removed or rearranged, donors are encouraged to contact the Archives before discarding or rearranging materials. Archives staff members work with the donor to identify historically significant materials and prepare them for transfer to the Archives. Before the physical transfer of materials can occur, legal title to the materials needs to be transferred from the donor to Northeastern University. This is done via a gift agreement, which also details any restrictions on access. For further information on gift agreements, please see the Society of American Archivists' A Guide to Deeds of Gift. For further information on the donation process, see: Donating Your Organizational Records to a Repository.

Collection Care

Collections are housed in an area with strict environmental controls to enhance preservation of historical materials. Strict security measures are also in place to safeguard the collections.

Collections donated to the Archives are organized and described by professional archivists and pre-professional graduate students to provide researchers with easy access to the materials. The resulting finding aid or guide to the collection is posted on the Archives website, making it available to anyone with Internet access. Researchers (e.g. students, teachers, professors, historians, journalists) use these guides to identify material that will be useful to them in their work.

The effort needed to physically preserve collections and provide intellectual control of them is time-consuming and expensive. Donors are, therefore, encouraged to provide financial support for the preservation of their historical records.

Further Information

If you have questions or would like to discuss donating materials to Northeastern University's Archives and Special Collections Department, please contact Joan Krizack at 617.373.8318 or