Merrick Archives Collection Development Policy

Statement of Purpose (Mission Statement)

The Merrick Archives will identify, collect, organize, describe, preserve and exhibit, historical records of enduring value to Allegheny College.   This material shall be preserved in a central location to make it available to administrators, faculty, students, alumni and outside scholars.

Collection Priorities and Donor Gifts

The official records of the college, produced or received by employees of Allegheny College engaged in official college business, is the primary focus of our collections.  Transfer of official college records is governed by our records management policy.

We will consider gift donations of unofficial records of historical importance for preservation, depending on the available space and resources.  These may include: 

  • Illustrative Materials ( Photographs, portraits, drawings, posters, postcards, slides, videos, audio recordings etc.)
  • Publications of faculty, administrators, and staff
  • Publications related to the history of the college
  • Memorabilia
  • Scrapbooks
  • Clippings
  • Albums
  • Commemorative objects, jewelry and other artifacts
  • Contemporary Comment on the College
  • Reminiscences
  • Oral Histories

The archives does not actively collect items that are not directly related to the history or work of the college or personal papers and/or writing of Alumni or Faculty/Staff related to their post college life. 

Potential gifts will be evaluated by the archivist in consultation with the Associate Director of the Library.  The Director of the Library and the Provost will be consulted as needed, particularly for larger collections. Decisions will be based on appropriateness of the gift to our collections, space available, and estimated time and costs to process the material. All manuscript and archival collections donated by individuals or organizations other than Allegheny College will be transferred by a Deed of Gift signed by both parties. A letter or email of acceptance and thank you will serve as a record of receipt and transfer for any individual items which are not donated as part of a whole collection. (e.g. a single yearbook, image, or athletic medal), unless the donor owns and is also transferring copyright in the item(s).  In that case, a deed of gift will be required.

Donated materials are accepted according to the following conditions.


  1. Allegheny College will store and maintain these materials according to accepted archival principles and procedures to ensure both preservation and accessibility to researchers.  Allegheny College shall not be liable for damage or destruction of materials by fire, water, or other casualty.
  2. The college will dispose of any surplus materials as indicated by the donor in this agreement.  Surplus materials are any items which are determined to have no enduring value or historical interest, are outside the scope of materials collected by the college, or those items which cannot be adequately housed.  If the donor does not specify disposition instructions for surplus materials, the college will use its own discretion in disposing of unwanted materials.
  3. All materials will be made available to all qualified researchers on equal terms of access.  Donors who require restrictions on access or use of their materials for reasons of privacy or confidentiality must complete a separate restricted materials agreement form to be filed with this deed of gift.
  4. Researchers using these materials will be supplied copies, upon request, of items from the collection(s) in accordance with policies of the Merrick Archives, unless the donor restricts such copying in a separate restricted materials agreement filed with this deed of gift.  This type of restriction must have an expiration date.
  5. The college will refer all requests to publish or quote the materials to the owner of the copyright of the materials.
  6. If copyright is transferred,  Allegheny College, as owner of copyright transferred by deed of gift, may exercise or transfer to a third party the right of quotation or publication of materials in this collection.

The Merrick Archives is a division of the non-profit entity Allegheny College.  Donations may qualify as tax deductible. IRS regulations do not permit the Archivist or other college employees to appraise gifts.  Donors who desire an appraisal should make arrangements to have that done before making a donation to the archives.

Drafted: 2019 May 19

Approved: 2019 June 27