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Archives & Manuscripts Department: Donation of Materials

Donation of Materials

The Archives and Manuscript Department depends upon the generosity of friends, donors, and alumni to support our many collections and programs. We welcome gifts of materials as well as financial support.
What to Donate
The Archivists works closely with donors to identify those materials of research interest which should be preserved. Although not all papers and records fall within the collecting scope of the department, the types of materials listed below are often valuable. These lists are suggestive but not definitive.
Personal and Family
Personal and family documents include: letters, diaries, speeches, lectures, albums, scrapbooks, memoirs, reminiscences, photographs, professional files, genealogical information, films, videotapes and audiotapes.
Organizational Records

Articles of incorporation/constitution/bylaws, correspondence, planning documents, architectural records, legal documents, diaries, minutes of meetings, reports, memoranda, newsletters and other publications, directories, financial documents, press releases, membership records, and research and subject files.

Because the research value of papers and records may be diminished if items are removed or rearranged, donors are encouraged to contact the staff of Manuscripts and Archives division before discarding or rearranging materials.

Transfer of Materials

After working with donors to identify materials appropriate for preservation, archives staff will make arrangements to have the papers or records transported to the Archives Department/John B. Cade Library. Legal transfer of the materials from the donor to Manuscripts and Archives occurs when the donor reviews and signs a gift agreement formally making a gift of the collection to the library. Manuscripts and Archives can only invest materials and labor in the care of collections, which it owns. The department generally does not accept materials on deposit or on loan.

Restrications of Access
Sensitive material may, at times, be found within collections. Manuscripts and Archives staff will discuss with a donor the possibility of restricting parts of a collection to protect the privacy of the donor or of others. Although desiring to make all papers and records freely accessible to researchers, the department will normally agree to reasonable and equitable restrictions for limited periods of time.
Copyright generally belongs to the creator of writings and other original material (such as photographs and music), and can be legally transferred. To enable scholars to quote readily from collections, the department encourages donors to transfer any copyright, which they possess in the donated papers to John B. Cade Library – Southern University and A&M College.
Monetary Appraisals for Tax Deductions
In certain circumstances, it may be possible for a donor to take a tax deduction for the donation of a manuscript collection to Manuscripts and Archives. Donors are encouraged to speak with their tax accountants or attorneys about this possibility. By law, Manuscripts and Archives staff cannot give tax advice or appraise the monetary value of a collection. They are able to provide donors with a list of manuscript appraisers, but it is the donor's responsibility to arrange for and bear the cost of any appraisal.
Care of the Collections

To provide research access, collections are arranged and described by experienced, professional archivists. They prepare descriptive guides and inventories, which are used by researchers to select materials to study.

Collections may contain materials that have physically deteriorated and are in need of treatment to ensure their long-term preservation.

Providing physical and intellectual control of valuable collections is expensive. Donors who are able to do so are encouraged to provide financial support for the arrangement, description, and preservation of their papers or records.


For Further Information

To discuss donating a collection of personal papers or organizational records to Manuscripts and Archives, please contact Angela Proctor at [225] 771-2624 or by email at

For local mailing address, send all correspondences to:

Archives or Manuscript Division
John B. Cade Library
Southern University and A&M College
167 Roosevelt Steptoe Avenue
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70813-0001