Donating Personal Papers

The Simmons University Archives collects the papers and records of individuals and organizations associated with Simons University, including the manuscript collections of many members of the faculty and administration and also of alumnae/i. These collections include, personal papers and correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks, diaries, oral histories, and memorabilia.

Simmons University Archives' collections are consulted each year by many members of the Simmons community as well as outside scholars and researchers. Increasingly, collections are used as primary resources for teaching and research throughout the university. With each new donation, the Archives is better able to document the history and contributions of Simmons University and those who have worked, taught, and learned here and to serve the needs of members of the Simmons community and outside scholars who value the scope of our collections.

What Can Be Donated?

The Simmons University Archives staff works closely with donors to identify the materials most appropriate for donation to the Archives. The types of materials listed below are often valuable, although others are accepted as well. Large and small donations are encouraged.

  • Personal and Family Papers: Correspondence, diaries, speeches/lectures/talks, albums/scrapbooks, oral histories/memoirs, curriculum and teaching materials, genealogical information, audio and visual materials, and photographs and memorabilia.
  • Organizational Records: Articles of incorporation/constitution/bylaws, correspondence, planning and legal documents, agenda and minutes of meetings, reports, internal memoranda, newsletters and other organizational publication, press releases and research and subject files, audio and visual materials and photographs.

The Archives staff will work closely with donors to determine which records or documents will have continuing historic interest prior to their donation. Donors are encouraged to contact the Archives staff before sorting or rearranging the materials they wish to donate, as the importance of the records diminishes if they are removed, reordered, or rearranged.

It is important to realize that materials need not be "old" or relate to a famous event, person, or organization to be historically significant for the University Archives.

What are the benefits?

Donations of personal papers to the Simmons University Archives may be eligible for tax deductions. Donors wishing to have more information on this matter should speak with either a tax consultant or an attorney.

The University archives staff cannot give tax advice or appraise the monetary value of a collection. It is the donor's responsibility to arrange for and pay the cost of any professional appraisal.

Our first priority is to preserve historic materials and make them available for research use. The Simmons Archives Staff arrange and describe collections, and store them in secure, temperature and humidity controlled environments. None of our collections circulate or can be used without staff supervision.

Restrictions on Access

While the University Archives encourages full access to all manuscript collections, at times access to certain collections or materials within a collection may be restricted for a set period of time. The Archives staff will discuss with the donor reasonable restrictions on access in accordance with the policies of the University Archives.


Copyright generally belongs to the creator of records, and can be legally transferred to the Archives. Transfer of copyright is encouraged so that the Archives staff can grant scholars permission to quote from collections.

How do I make a donation?

To make a donation, please contact the University Archives staff at 617.521.2440 or [email protected].

The University Archives requests that materials not be mailed or dropped off at the Archives without first consulting with the staff. In cases where the records are relatively local and in large quantities, the Archives staff may wish to see them before they are physically transferred. It is best not to rearrange the records prior to the Archives' inspection. Arrangements can then be made for the physical transfer of the records.

Ownership of the records is transferred when the donor signs a deed of gift. While the deed of gift is a standard document, it can be customized to suit individual donors needs. In most cases, the University Archives will not accept donations unless the ownership is transferred to Simmons University.

Monetary Donations

The cost of caring for, describing, and providing access to historic materials is high. Donors are encouraged to consider making a monetary donation towards the arrangement, description and preservation of their donation.