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Collection Development Policy (Old): Special Collections

Special Collections Librarian

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Elizabeth Williams-Clymer
Chalmers Library L160

College and Digital Collections Librarian

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Abigail Tayse
Chalmers Library L164

Special Collections and Archives Collection Development Policy


The Greenslade Special Collections and Archives, housed in Olin and Chalmers Libraries, consists of two main collections: Special Collections and the Kenyon College Archives. Special Collections includes rare books ranging from medieval manuscripts to contemporary artists’ books and special subject research collections. The Kenyon College Archives collects records and other materials of enduring historical value documenting the history, organization, policies, and activities of the College. Materials include college publications, student and faculty papers and photographs, and college memorabilia.

As with the general Library Collection Development Policy, Special Collections and Archives reflects and supports the Library’s mission and the College’s goals. Special Collections and Archives supports the use of primary source materials within the Kenyon College curriculum and the wider community of scholars.


Selection Responsibility

Materials may be acquired for the Special Collections and Archives through transfer, gift or purchase, but selection for placement in Special Collections and Archives lies with the Special Collections Librarian and the College and Digital Collections Archivist, often in consultation with the Collection Development Librarian, Associate Director of Research and Instruction and the Library Director.  

Format of Materials Collected

The primary formats collected include printed texts, manuscripts, photographs, graphics, artifacts and objects, microform, audio-visual materials, databases, and digital materials. We try to acquire scholarly editions, typically first editions or unique materials. Textiles, furniture and fine art are not typically collected due to the specialized nature of their care.

Transport of Collections

Donors are responsible for the delivery of materials to the Library. Special circumstances may be taken into consideration.


  • Special Collections and Archives can only accept unconditional gifts and donations. Exceptions may be made in special circumstances.

  • Special Collections and Archives will not accept the following items:

    • publications best suited for general circulation

    • items which cannot be properly housed (i.e. clothing, fine art)

    • items which are too large for available storage and/or display space

    • materials still in active use by departments or offices

    • materials in which the donor’s ownership is in question or disputed

    • moldy or damaged items

    • duplicate materials

    • non-original materials (i.e. photocopies, facsimiles)

    • materials of no research value to the campus community

  • The library will not be responsible for the return of unsolicited items.



Acquisition of New Materials

Special Collections and Archives acquisitions will be evaluated by the same criteria as for other library materials however, additional selection criteria specifically applicable to SC&A will be considered, including but not limited to:

  • quality of material

  • authoritativeness

  • circumstances of creation and ownership

  • enduring value: evidential, informational, intrinsic

  • cost of retention: processing, storage, preservation, technical support

  • format appropriateness

  • copyright and fair use


Materials Collected

The College Archives seeks documentation that will accurately reflect the establishment, development, and activities of Kenyon College. In pursuit of these records, the Archives will collect official records from administrative offices and academic departments of Kenyon College, their predecessors, and affiliated bodies, including:

  • Materials documenting the establishment of Kenyon College and contributing to the understanding of its history; particularly records related to the development of its governance, organizational structure, funding, and management;

  • Materials documenting policies, strategic planning, and activities of College departments and offices;

  • Materials documenting the development and achievements of the College in teaching and research;

  • Materials documenting the development of the College’s fabric and infrastructure;

  • Materials of permanent legal, administrative, and financial value;

  • Materials documenting relationships with stakeholders including staff, students, funding authorities, benefactors, and central government;

  • Materials relating to the College’s role within the local and wider community, particularly records relating to marketing, alumni, and press communications.

To supplement these records and ensure all significant aspects of the College’s activities are documented, the Archives will also collect materials from non-official sources including:

  • Materials from senior staff, administration, and academic staff; particularly correspondence, photographs, research material, manuscripts of published texts and articles, diaries, and notebooks;

  • Material from alumni, particularly those relating to their experiences as students at the College;

  • Materials from student associations, clubs and societies;

  • Materials from staff associations and societies.


If any materials require access restrictions, those restrictions should be made for a fixed term and determined at time of donation or transfer. Access to materials may not be retroactively restricted except in extraordinary circumstances agreed upon by Special Collections and Archives staff.

Due to limited staffing, budget, and space, all donations, gifts, and transfers are subject to review by the College and Digital Collections Archivist and Special Collections Librarian and may be declined. The Archivist also reserves the right to periodically review the archival status of accessioned materials (see section V. of this document).


Acquisition of New Collections

New collections will be considered by the College under the following conditions:

  • The proposed collection must be of value to the curriculum, student independent research or faculty/staff research;

  • A list of the proposed collection must be provided so the Librarian(s) can judge the value of the collection based on housing requirements and general usefulness to the college community;

  • The library will not actively seek new special collections, however, items or collections that add to current special collections strengths will be considered if the acquisitions can be supported by gifts or special funds;

  • Collections that do not build upon current special collections strengths will be discussed by Librarians and Director to determine whether or not the library should and can expand its special collections in a new direction. Such collections must be of value to the curriculum, student independent research, or faculty/staff research;

  • Materials will not be accepted on loan by Special Collections. In special cases materials may be accepted, providing they are accompanied by a letter of intent spelling out their eventual donation or sale to the Libraries within a reasonable period of time.

Existing Collections

In an effort to preserve and maintain our cultural and literary history, Kenyon College Greenslade Special Collections and Archives will continue to maintain materials in the following collections:

  • Eugene Bigler Collection of art and archeology

  • Bishop Brown Collection of late nineteenth and early twentieth century works on labor, capital, socialism, and the aristocracy

  • Charles Clinch Bubb collection of books printed by Bubb’s own Clerk’s Press in Cleveland between 1908 and 1919. Many collections of lyrics, carols, tales, and liturgical texts.

  • William Dameron Collection on the history of books and printing

  • Brooke and Thomas Catesby Jones Collection of assorted fictional works

  • Lamb Collection of classic literature and essays

  • Richard Levey Collection of various twentieth century volumes of poetry and materials related to poetry and the craft of writing, especially in America.

  • John N. Lewis Collection of treatises on Math, Physics and Astronomy from between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. (In English, French and Latin).

  • Powell Collection of materials by or relating to Vladimir Nabokov.

  • Riker Collection of materials by and about William Butler Yeats.

  • Wright Collection of materials relating to the sport of angling



Gift materials owned by individuals or organizations may be accepted to the Special Collections and Archives if they meet the collection criteria established in this document and after evaluation by Special Collections and Archives staff.

All donors must transfer material under a Deed of Gift (Appendix A) agreement signed by the owner(s) of the materials and Special Collections and Archives staff.


It is the responsibility of the donor to demonstrate they are the valid owner(s) of the material on offer. When assigning ownership of the materials to the Special Collections and Archives, the donor will be granting copyright of the materials to the College unless otherwise agreed.


The Kenyon College Library and Development Office requests that written appraisals be made by a qualified appraiser on collections believed to be in excess of $5,000. In order to avoid conflict of interest, librarians or library staff are not permitted to perform appraisals. The potential donor is responsible for contacting a qualified appraiser.

Access Restrictions

Materials requiring access restrictions are discouraged from deposit. If any materials require access restrictions, those restrictions should be made for a fixed term and determined at time of donation. Access to materials may not be retroactively restricted except in extraordinary circumstances in agreement with Special Collections and Archives staff.


Transfer of materials to the Archives from offices and departments of the College are considered permanent and irreversible. The materials may be made available to department staff only in the reading room of the Archives.

A department or office transferring materials to the Archives will fill out a Transfer Form (Appendix B) before any materials are accepted for deposit in the Archives.

For departments and offices with frequent deposits of materials, i.e. programs, publicity, press releases, etc., a delivery schedule may be established with the Archivist.


Decisions regarding purchases for the collection will be based on a general knowledge of the historical strengths and weaknesses of the collection, as well as on a knowledge of the curriculum of the College and an understanding of the research needs and interests of both faculty and students.  

Additional criteria to be considered includes: significance of the subject matter, importance of the author or creator, potential for use by patrons, importance to total collection, availability in consortium or area libraries, scarcity of materials on the subject, purchase price, continuation costs, format and its longevity, and available space.


The Special Collections and Archives staff reserves the right to review the status of any accessioned materials and recommend their disposal if the material does not meet the criteria of the Department Policy as outlined in this document.

Materials will only be deaccessioned within the terms of their deed of gift, college regulations, and established records management policies.



This document may be periodically reviewed and updated as needed.

Created: August 2014 by Abigail Miller, College and Digital Collections Librarian; Elizabeth Williams-Clymer, Special Collections Librarian

Approved by: Julia Warga, Associate Director of Research and Instruction; Amy Badertscher, Library Director


APPENDIX A: Deed of Gift






1. The Greenslade Special Collections and Archives of Kenyon College Library and Information Services Department, gratefully acknowledges receipt from:

Of the following materials:

2. I, ____________________________, hereby make a gift of and assign to Kenyon College (the College) the materials described above. I hereby grant, give, assign, and transfer any and all rights, title, and copyright which I possess to the contents of said materials to the College for its use in fulfilling its research, educational, publication, and exhibition goals.

3. The disposition of any materials which the Greenslade Special Collections and Archives department, (the Archives) determines are duplicative, or which are deemed to have no research value, or are otherwise inappropriate for inclusion in the Archives will be the Department’s prerogative.

4. In the event that I may, from time to time, give additional papers to the Archives, title to such additional materials shall pass to the College and all the provisions of this deed of gift shall be applicable to the additional materials. A description of the additional materials so donated and delivered will be prepared and attached hereto.

5. In making this gift, it is my intent that College affiliates and researchers may have full access to these materials. In addition, I agree that persons granted access to these materials may also make single copies in lieu of note taking. I understand that I have access to the materials at any time during regular operating hours of the ARchives and that I may request copies of donated materials for personal use. As a courtesy, reasonable copying and delivery expenses shall be borne by the Archives.

____________________________ ____________________________

Signature of donor(s) Accepting on behalf of the Archives


____________________________ ____________________________

Date Date


See reverse for Explanation of Deed of Gift

Explanation of Deed of Gift Agreement

This is a copy of a gift agreement that the Special Collections and Archives Department sends out to all donors of materials. The purpose of this agreement is to document your gift, transfer the title and copyright to Kenyon College, and to protect the rights of both the donor and the donee (the Special Collections and Archives Department). The agreement addresses five items:


1. Acknowledgement of your gift and description of material you have deposited. This is usually a brief description of the donated materials, longer may be attached if necessary. This part of the agreements is usually filled in by Archives staff following delivery of materials.


2. Assignment of copyright to Kenyon College. Under law, any items you or your ancestors have written are your literary property. If a researcher comes to the Archives and wishes to quote from your writings or those of your family, he or she must first obtain permission from the copyright holder. For many researchers, this procedure is a time-consuming one. For our older collections, a particular problem arises in determining who are the current heirs holding the copyright to a document. In order to facilitate the process of research at the Archives, we ask donors to assign copyright to the College to save the donor(s) time and effort of responding to future researchers. The gift of copyright also allows the Archives to digitize materials for preservation and research purposes.


3. Disposal of non-archival material. Not every item in an historical collection is of sufficient value to warrant the cost of permanent storage or preservation. Because of our limited space and increasing collections, the Archives must review the contents of each collection to determine what material is truly archival in nature and what is ephemeral, duplicative, or routine. Materials which do not meet archival appraisal standards or do not fit within the Archive’s Collection Policy are separated and either disposed of or sent to an appropriate organization.


4. This agreement applies to any future gifts you may give to the Archives. Rather than fill out and sign a new form for future gifts or accessions, this clause states any further donations from you will fall under the same conditions as this one.


5. Open or limited access. We strive to make all of our collections open and available for immediate research use. At the same time, we recognize that it may be appropriate for some materials to be closed to researchers for an established period of time. The archives staff will be glad to advise you about the types of restrictions currently being used and what is appropriate for your materials. By signing the agreement, we also ask you permit us to make photocopies of materials to facilitate efficient research.

In addition, you have access to your donation during the regular hours of operation and as a courtesy we will provide you with copies of donated materials for your personal use.


APPENDIX B: Material Transfer Form






Name:________________________________   Date: __________________________________


Email:________________________________   Phone:_________________________________




Material(s) for transfer:















(If more space is required, please attach additional sheet)


Reason for transfer:



Retention value of material(s):


___________________________________ ___________________________________

Signature         Date Signature of SC&A staff           Date

APPENDIX C: Reproduction Request


Reproduction Request Form

The individual or corporation named below has been granted permission to republish or reproduce materials held by the Greenslade Special Collections and Archives subject to all conditions set forth below.

1. Unless otherwise noted, permissions are granted for one-time use only.


2. All xerographic, photographic or digital reproductions of items held in the Greenslade Special Collections and Archives shall carry the following statement whenever republished or reproduced:

Greenslade Special Collections and Archives, Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio.

Used by Permission.

3. If a reproduction is included in a publication, the author/publisher shall provide one complimentary copy of the publication to the Greenslade Special Collections and Archives Department.


4. Images may not be altered unless authorized in writing and noted in the credit line. They will be shown in either full color or black and white, will not be superimposed or transposed. Cropping may not significantly change the meaning or context of the image, or compromise its authenticity as an historical document.


  • Name and Contact Information of Requestor: [Name and Address/ Phone and/or Email]

  • Date of Request:

  • Description of Item Requested: [object or file number(s) and/or physical description]

  • Purpose of Republication: [book, Title, publication date]

  • Print Run:

  • Republication Fee: [to be used for commercial requests only]

  • Approval Needed by President’s Office or Public Relations Office:  ____Yes ____No

  • Approval Granted by President’s Office or Public Relations Office:  ____Yes ____No ____ N/A

__________________________ __________________________

Signature of Requestor                                                   Signature of Kenyon College Staff                                       

__________________________ __________________________

Date                                                                       Date

Kenyon College - Greenslade Special Collections & Archives - 103 College Drive, Gambier, Ohio 43022