Collection Development and Management

The Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation (RBSCP) seeks to acquire, preserve, catalog, and provide access to rare books, manuscripts, and archival collections in keeping with the strategic priorities of River Campus Libraries and in support of the mission of the University of Rochester, “Learn, Discover, Heal, Create—and Make the World Ever Better.”  

Contents:
Introduction and general guidelines
Guidelines for the acquisition of rare books and special collections

  1. Literary collections
  2. Historical and non-literary collections
  3. University Archives

Guidelines for the limited deaccession of rare books and special collections

Introduction and general guidelines 

The Department collects in support of study, teaching, and advanced research in the humanities and the hard and applied sciences, and to document the recent and distant past of our University and our community. In his inauguration as the University's fifth president, Cornelis de Kiewiet said, "A university is never fully mature. It must grow and change, else it languishes and loses its place." The same is true of a research and teaching collection: it sustains its usefulness, becomes more complete, and supports new and original inquiry through acquisition. 

A collection such as ours keeps its place by adding the valuable and unique to foundation collections, and by pursuing 21st-century materials that reflect the diversity and complexity of the issues facing our community as part of the world at large. Through our collections, we encourage innovative scholarship and the research interests of new generations of students, faculty, and scholars.

When materials are not available by donation, acquisitions are made through purchase, primarily with endowed funds. We acknowledge and honor our crucial partnerships with friends and donors over the years; their interest and trust are one indication of the true worth of our endeavors.

The River Campus Libraries website includes a directory of Endowed Funds. In evaluating purchases or potential donations, the following factors are considered.

  • Research value, and usefulness in teaching and exhibition: including evidential and informational content, uniqueness, credibility, accessibility, time span, complementary relationship to other holdings, and potential uses.
  • Material characteristics: including age, volume, format, and physical condition.
  • Administrative considerations: including staffing as well as preservation, storage, and processing costs.

The unique history of Rochester has meant that our collections contain substantial materials relating to often under-collected communities and cultures; we actively build on those existing holdings and seek opportunities to explore new areas. Through our collections, we facilitate study and research from multicultural and interdisciplinary perspectives.

Guidelines for the acquisition of rare books and special collections

This is a general policy that provides broad guidelines for collecting by RBSCP, including the University Archives. The purpose here is not to document all collection strengths and areas of distinction, but to guide current selection criteria by designating certain areas of continued growth and indicating, where appropriate, collecting qualifiers and limited procedures for deaccessioning.  

Areas covered in this document include:

  1. Literary collections
    1. Rare books
    2. Children's books
    3. Literary collections, mainly since 1930
  2. Historical and non-literary collections
    1. Historical collections
    2. Women’s rights collections
    3. Rochester’s horticultural history
    4. Rochester's architecture
  3. University Archives

As circumstances change, collecting areas are reevaluated and modified as appropriate.

Past and fuller descriptions of major collecting areas and collections of distinction are available, including:


This plan is not intended to be a final statement but will be reviewed at regular intervals and revised as required. In addition to subject areas documented here, we seek opportunities to acquire new collections that are of sufficient substance and depth to result in new areas of research strength.

1. Literary Collections

a. Rare Books

We selectively add to our cataloged collections, through gift or purchase, works by the following:

As well as to our holdings of:

And imprints of:

See also:

b. Children's books 

We collect through gift or purchase American and British children’s books, primarily 1760-1930.  Our holdings are strong in nineteenth-century New England and New York State chapbooks, Mahlon Day imprints, and Rochester imprints. In addition to these areas, current collecting is focused on materials related to key social issues, such as gender, etiquette, ethnicity, and race. We also collect editions of Cinderella and versions of The Three Bears.   
See also: "Subject Guides to Rare Books and Special Collections—Children’s Books and Popular Literature."

c. Literary manuscripts, mainly since 1930

Major collections include: 

BOA Editions (Rochester, NY). A significant collection.
Policy: We selectively add to this collection through gift or purchase.

Crapsey, Adelaide (1878-1914).
Policy: We actively acquire manuscripts and printed material through gift or purchase.
    See:

Doolittle, Hilda [H.D.] (1886-1961). 
Policy: We actively acquire new and older editions of her works that fill in any gaps in our collection. We selectively acquire manuscript materials through gift or purchase.
    See: Hilda Doolittle Papers, 1924-1949. D.257. 

Exley, Frederick (1929-1992). This is the collection of record.
Policy: We actively acquire manuscripts and printed material through gift or purchase.
    See: Frederick Exley Papers, 1924-1998. D.247. 

Gardner, John (1933-1982). This is the collection of record. 
Policy: We actively acquire manuscripts and printed material through gift or purchase.
    See: John Gardner Papers, 1880s-2007. D.183. 

Giardina, Anthony (1950- ). This is the collection of record.
Policy: We actively acquire manuscripts and printed material from the author, and from other sources as identified, through gift or purchase.
    See: Anthony Giardina Papers, 1975-2010. D.392.

Harvey, Dorothy Dudley (1884-1962).
Policy: We selectively add to this collection through gift or purchase. 
See:  Dorothy Dudley Harvey Papers, 1917-1953. A.H34. 

Heyen, William (1940- ). A complete archive to ca. 1998. 
Policy: We continue to add Heyen’s new published poetry collections.

Note: We selectively add contemporary published poetry in support of the Plutzik Memorial Reading Series.  

MacInnes, Colin (1914-1976). A significant collection.
Policy:  We actively acquire manuscripts and printed material through gift or purchase.
    See: Colin MacInnes Papers, 1921-1976. D.140. 

Mangione, Jerre (1909-1998). This is the collection of record.
Policy: We actively acquire manuscripts and printed material through gift or purchase.
    See: Jerre Mangione Papers, 1920s-1989. D.245. 

Morley, Christopher (1890-1957).
Policy: We selectively add to this collection through gift or purchase.

Plutzik, Hyam (1911-1962). This is the collection of record. 
Policy: We actively acquire manuscripts and printed material through gift or purchase.
    See: Hyam Plutzik Papers, 1924-2010. D.113. 

Sandburg, Carl (1878-1967). 
Policy: We selectively add to this collection through gift or purchase.
    See: Carl Sandburg Papers. D.244. 

Williams, John A. (1925-2015). This is the collection of record. 
Policy: We actively acquire manuscripts and printed material through gift or purchase.
    See: John A. Williams Papers, 1925-2015. D293. 

Zimmer, Paul J. (1934- ). This is the collection of record.
Policy: We selectively add to this collection through gift or purchase.
    See: Paul J. Zimmer Papers, 1967-2004. D.321.

2. Historical and non-literary collections

a. Historical collections

We actively document nineteenth-century social reform movements, with specific focus on abolitionism and women’s rights, through both national and local lenses. We actively seek materials to support the growth of our nineteenth- and twentieth-century political collections. Another significant area of strength is in the history of optics. We actively collect in local history, with nineteenth- and twentieth-century manuscripts and published works relating to the city of Rochester and to the counties of Monroe, Cayuga, Genesee, Livingston, Ontario, Orleans, Wayne, and Wyoming, acquired on a selective basis. We selectively add local social and cultural history collections reflecting a diversity of issues and perspectives around race, gender, place, and genre.  

See also:


AIDS Education Poster Collection (1982-). Ca. 7,300 posters and accompanying ephemera. 
Policy: We selectively accept gifts of posters and supporting materials not already represented in the collection.
See: AIDS Education Poster Collection. 

Cooper, Dr. Walter (1928- ). This is the collection of record.
Policy: We add materials directly relating to Dr. Cooper’s life and work through gifts.  
    See: Dr. Walter Cooper Papers, 1939-2011. D.385. 

Dewey, Thomas E. (1902-1971). This is the collection of record.
Policy: We selectively acquire manuscript and book materials that directly relate to Dewey and his career through gift or purchase.
    See: Thomas E. Dewey Papers. D.58. 

Douglass, Frederick (1818-1895). Significant holdings.
Policy: We actively acquire Douglass manuscripts and published works through gift or purchase. Note: We selectively add first and early editions to a strong slave narrative collection. 
    See: Frederick Douglass Papers, c. 1818-1895. A.D74. 

Eastman, George (1854-1932). 
Policy: Recognizing that there is overlap with the holdings and collecting practices of the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, we actively acquire manuscript and book materials that directly relate to Eastman and his career through gift or purchase.
    See:

Eastman Kodak Company. 
Policy: Recognizing that there is overlap with the holdings and collecting practices of the George Eastman Museum, we selectively acquire manuscript and book materials that directly relate to the Eastman Kodak Company, and the history of photography through gift or purchase.
    See:

Ecumenical and Interfaith Archive of Rochester (EIAR). This is the collection of record. 
Policy: We actively acquire manuscript and published materials directly related to EIAR that have research potential.
    See: Ecumenical and Interfaith Archive of Rochester (EIAR), 1918-2009. D. 457. 

Finks, P. David (1930-2009).
Policy: We actively seek Finks-related material, as well as material associated with Rochester’s 1964 race riots and the recovery efforts that followed through gift or purchase.
    See: P. David Finks Papers, 1965-2009. D.393. 

Florence, Minister Franklin D. R. (1934- ).
Policy: We add materials directly relating to Minster Franklin’s life and work through gifts, to be added as a separate but complementary collection. 
    See: Franklin Florence Papers, 1962-1972. D.167.

Folsom, Marion Bayard (1893-1976). Significant holdings.
Policy: We selectively acquire manuscript and book materials that directly relate to Folsom and his career through gift or purchase.
    See: Marion Bayard Folsom Papers, 1922-1968. D.59.

Keating, Kenneth B. (1900-1975). This is the collection of record.
Policy: We selectively acquire manuscript and book materials that directly relate to Keating and his career through gift or purchase.
    See: Kenneth Barnard Keating Papers. A.K25. 

Kingslake, Rudolf, and Hilda Conrady Kingslake. This is the collection of record.
Policy: We selectively acquire manuscript and book materials that relate directly to scientific research in optics through gift or purchase.
    See:

Leo Hart Printing Company Papers (1905-1975). 
Policy:  We selectively acquire manuscripts and printed material related to Hart Printing through gift or purchase.
    See:

Morgan, Lewis Henry (1818-1881). This is the collection of record, 1839-1881. 
Policy: We acquire manuscripts and printed material directly related to Morgan and his career through gift or purchase.
    See: Lewis Henry Morgan Papers, 1826-present (bulk 1840-1881). A.M85. 

Optical trade catalogs. Ca. 3,000 nineteenth and early twentieth- century trade catalogs.
Policy: We actively acquire trade catalogs not yet represented in our holdings through gift or purchase. 

Porter Family Papers. 
Policy: We selectively acquire manuscripts and printed material directly related to the Porter Family through gift or purchase.
    See: Porter Family Papers, ca. 1785-1912. A.P84. 

Post Family Papers. This is the collection of record. 
Policy: We acquire manuscripts and printed material directly related to the Posts through gift or purchase. Note: We selectively acquire manuscript and printed materials relating to the nineteenth century Spiritualism movement its proponents, opponents, and practitioners through gift or purchase.
    See:

Rochester Race Riot Papers. 
Policy: We actively seek material associated with Rochester’s 1964 race riots and the recovery efforts that followed through gift or purchase.
    See: Rochester Race Riot Papers, 1964-1966. D.185. 

Seward, William Henry (1801-1872). An almost complete archive.
Policy: We selectively acquire manuscripts and printed material directly related to Seward, his career, his contemporaries, and his historical period through gift or purchase.
    See:

Ward, Henry Augustus (1834-1906). This is the collection of record, 1840-1906. Also in the collection are the papers of several members of the Ward family, and the archives of Ward’s Natural Science Establishment.
Policy: We selectively acquire manuscript or printed items that complement or supplement these family and corporate history collections through gift or purchase.
    See:

Weed, Thurlow (1797-1882). An almost complete archive.
Policy: We selectively acquire manuscripts and printed material directly related to Weed through gift or purchase.
    See: Thurlow Weed Papers, 1775-1900. A.W39. 

b. Women’s rights collections

Anthony, Susan B. (1820-1906). Significant holdings.
Policy: We actively acquire Anthony letters, manuscripts of significance, and published work through gift or purchase.
See:


Rochester and local women’s rights collections.
Policy: Through gift or purchase, we selectively acquire manuscript and printed material that directly relate to the women’s rights movements in Rochester, Monroe County, contiguous and nearby counties (Cayuga, Genesee, Livingston, Ontario, Orleans, Wayne, Wyoming). 
    See:

See also:  "Subject Guides to Rare Books and Special Collections—Rochester, Western New York, and New York State."

c. Rochester’s horticultural history
Policy: We actively acquire materials directly related to Rochester’s nineteenth-century “Flower City” heritage.  

Major holdings include:

The Ellwanger and Barry Papers. This is the collection of record. 
Policy: We actively acquire manuscript or published work that will complete these holdings through gift or purchase.
See:


Steele, Fletcher (1885-1971). 
Policy: Would consider adding to the collection by gift.
    See: 

In addition to the nationally significant Ellwanger and Barry Nursery, we collect Rochester-area nurserymen’s plate books and material associated with:

We also collect original and print material produced by local artists, printers, and publishers in support of the local commercial horticultural trade. We selectively add by gift or purchase materials produced by or related to the following, among others:

  • Mina Brunswick.
  • D.M. (Dellon Marcus) Dewey.
  • George Frauenberger.
  • Karle and Co.
  • Rochester Lithographing Co.
  • Daniel W. Sargent.
  • Stecher Lithograph Co.


d. Rochester's architecture
Rochester-based, primarily 1850 to 1930; the architectural drawings of the University of Rochester are held separately, as part of the University Archives.
See also: "Subject Guides to Rare Books and Special Collections—Art and Architecture." 

Major collections include:

Bragdon, Claude Fayette (1866-1946). This is the collection of record. The University of Rochester owns the copyright to Claude Bragdon material and to the other family members’ material represented in the Bragdon Family Papers. 
Policy: We actively acquire Bragdon material that would enhance the collection through gift or purchase.
    See:

Dryer Architectural Collection. This is the collection of record.
Policy: We selectively add to the collection through gifts.
    See:

Ellis, Harvey (1852-1904). Significant holdings. 
Policy: We selectively acquire manuscripts, drawings, and other Ellis-related material through gift and purchase.
    See: Harvey Ellis Papers. D.252.  

Gordon and Kaelber. 
Policy: We selectively add drawings to the collection through gifts.
    See: Gordon and Kaelber Papers, ca. 1928-1934. D.213. 

Johnson, James H. (1932- ). This is the collection of record, gift of the architect. 
Policy: We selectively add drawings to the collection through gifts.
    See: Database of Architectural Drawings. 

Warner, J. Foster (1859-1937). An almost complete archive. 
Policy:  We selectively add to the collection through gift and purchase. 
    See: J. Foster Warner Family Papers, 1906-1912. D.331. 

Warner, A. J. (1833-1910). 
Policy:  We selectively add to the collection through gift or purchase.

Other Rochester architects. Individual drawings and/or photographs by other Rochester architects including James B. Arnold, James G. Cutler, Herbert Stern, Carl R. Traver, Ward Wellington Ward, as well as some work for Ellwanger & Barry Realty.
Policy: We would very selectively consider adding works by these architects.
    See: Database of Architectural Drawings.

3. University Archives

According to policy set by the University Board of Trustees, the Archives functions as a repository for both governance and historical documents of the University.
    See: University Archives

In addition to collecting the materials outlined by Board policy, the University Archives acquires the materials listed below either by gift, deposit, or purchase. 

Academic Department Papers
The Archives holds papers from the Institute of Optics, and departments of English, Music, Physics and many others. On a case-by-case basis, the Archives seeks and accepts accruals to existing holdings in both paper and electronic form, as well as the papers of previously un-collected academic departments, especially those materials that record changes in academic focus (i.e., new majors, or departments created to meet evolving needs).

Administrative Department Papers
The Archives holds historic (prior to 1990) materials from the offices of the Provost, Dean of Students, Treasurer, Registrar, and others. On a case-by-case basis, the Archives seeks and accepts accruals to existing holdings in both paper and electronic form, as well as the papers of previously un-collected administrative departments, especially those materials that record changes in focus (i.e., departments created to meet evolving needs).

Architectural Drawings
The University Archives collections contain original drawings of selected buildings from the Prince Street Campus, River Campus, Eastman School of Music and Medical Center, as well as properties no longer owned by the University and those which have been razed. Drawings for modern structures, both paper and electronic, are held by the Campus Planning, Design and Construction Management Office. The Archives would accept additional historic drawings along with supporting materials (specifications, correspondence, etc.). Acquisition of electronic materials would be determined in consultation with the appropriate offices.

Student Organizations

The Archives has particular strengths in selected Greek Life organizations, the Students Association, and other co-curricular groups. Papers of student organizations are accepted as accruals to existing holdings in both paper and electronic form, and the Archives seeks and accepts collections of new student groups, and dormant or defunct groups where those materials would fill in gaps in the historic and modern record. 

Alumni Records
Published materials are received on a regular basis by transfer from the office of Alumni Relations, and are added as accruals to existing collections. New collections are created as needed, to preserve the record of the activities of that office. Active files are not currently received.

Communications (Public Relations) Documents and Images
With the exception of digital materials (text, still image and moving image), the University Archives holds the extant record of the University Communications Office, including still  and moving images; files on faculty, staff, and subjects; newspaper clippings; and press releases. Additional materials, if available, will be added in order to complete the record.

At the current time, born-digital materials are not being transferred but are accessible to the University Archivist. The preservation of these digital materials is critical, but transfer (if necessary) would require consultation with all responsible parties.

Advancement Records
Published materials are received on a regular basis by transfer from the office of Advancement, and are added as accruals to existing collections. New collections are created as needed, to preserve the record of the activities of that office. Active files are not currently received.

Faculty/Staff Papers
Faculty, staff, and alumni/ae papers are held in both the University Archives and the general manuscript collections. Some of these have no content relating to the University; others contain materials which record foundational documentation about the life of the University.

Important historical collections include, but are not limited to:

On a case-by-case basis, the papers of retiring faculty, staff, and alumni with relevance to the University and its institutional history are accepted in both paper and electronic form; accruals are made to existing collections by gift or purchase. Faculty papers of intrinsic research value relating to their academic field of study would be considered for acquisition by gift or purchase, but would become part of the general manuscript collection.

Note: Materials that complement or supplement the collections of the University Archives are selectively acquired from non-University sources through gift or purchase.

Guidelines for the limited deaccession of rare books and special collections

The River Campus Libraries administers RBSCP to collect, preserve, catalog, and provide access to a research and teaching collection in trust for current and future members of the University of Rochester community and the scholarly public.

These guidelines provide for limited and selective deaccessioning or disposal of material from RBSCP collections under clearly defined and controlled conditions, in compliance with any legal restrictions, the necessity for possession of valid title, and the donor's intent.

Procedures for the deaccession or disposal of materials will be at least as rigorous as those for purchasing and accepting gifts-in-kind, and should be governed by the same basic principles.

Deaccessioning or disposal may be carried out when: 

  1. Material is damaged or deteriorated beyond its historical or monetary value, no longer retains its physical integrity, identity, or authenticity, or is in a format that can no longer be read and where the cost of transferring it to a new format outweighs its historical value; or when
  2. Material is duplicated by another example or examples in better or more desirable condition, or has been transferred to another format (e.g., microfilm or digital) and the original has no further use, historical, or artifactual value; or when
  3. Material is clearly and definitively, in the judgment of RBSCP staff, not appropriate to the needs of the RBSCP collection and its users.


Procedures for considering deaccession or disposal of archival materials will be guided by the Guidelines for Reappraisal and Deaccessioning (Society of American Archivists, 2012).  

For materials other than archival collections, RBSCP will be guided by the Disposals Policy for Rare Books and Manuscripts (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, United Kingdom, 2013), in particular the recommendation that core manuscript and book collections generally will not be considered for deaccessioning. 

Regardless of format, all decisions will be further guided by the ACRL Code of Ethics for Special Collections Librarians (Rare Book and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries, American Library Association, 2003).  

Proposals for deaccession must be reviewed by the RBSCP Collection Development Committee (made up of staff with curatorial responsibilities, the University Archivist, and the Director, RBSCP). 

Deaccessioning will not occur without approval by the Director, RBSCP.

All non-routine deaccessioning decisions require approval from the Dean of River Campus Libraries who may seek advice from University of Rochester legal counsel, and/or others at the Dean’s discretion. 

Last modified: August 28, 2015