University Archives Collection Development Policy

Bobst Library, New York University
Nancy Cricco, University Archivist


The New York University Archives serves as the final repository for the historical records of New York University. Its primary purpose is to document the history of the University and to provide source material for administrators, faculty, students, alumni, and other members of the University community, as well as scholars, authors, and other interested persons who seek to evaluate the impact of the University's activities on the history of American social, cultural, and intellectual development.

Core Mission

The core mission of the University Archives is as follows:

  • To appraise, collect, organize, describe, make available, and preserve records of historical, legal, fiscal, and/or administrative value to New York University
  • To provide adequate facilities for the retention and preservation of such records
  • To provide information services that will assist the operation of the University
  • To serve as a resource and laboratory to stimulate and nourish creative teaching and learning
  • To serve research and scholarship by making available and encouraging the use of its collections by members of the University and the community at large
  • To promote knowledge and understanding of the origins, aims, programs, and goals of the University, and of the development of these aims, goals, and programs
  • To implement records management by formulating policy and procedures that will ensure the collection and preservation of archival materials.

Collection Development

The University Archives was designated the "official repository for all non-current records of the University" in August, 1977. Its collections policy is based on the Society of American Archivists' Guidelines For College and University Archives (1983), and on the recommendations of the Archives Advisory Council, a committee of University faculty and administrators established in 1977 to advise the Archives on policy and procedures, and to oversee its growth and development. In 1978, the Advisory Council issued a policy statement calling for the preservation of University records for the purposes of:

  • maintaining a clear account of University life and achievements, administrative policy and actions and educational programs
  • reinforcing an image of the University that stimulates financial support and encourages an appreciation of the University's past and its role in the history of American higher education among students, faculty, and alumni
  • making available a body of records useful for student, casual, and scholarly research in history and other disciplines.

The records of New York University are voluminous. In the absence of systematic records management, the Archives must rely on the cooperation and support of administrators, deans, directors, faculty, students, and alumni to ensure that materials of historical value are collected and preserved. The University Archives will promote university-wide records management and collect material in the following categories from all administrative and academic units of the University with the exception of the Medical and Dental Centers, which maintain separate archival collections:


    Official records encompass the records or papers generated or received by the various administrative offices of New York University in the conduct of their business. These records will include:

    • Minutes, memoranda, correspondence and reports of the Board of Trustees
    • Records of the Office of President, including correspondence, administrative subject files and reports
    • Correspondence, subject files, and reports of the Office of Academic Affairs
    • Correspondence, subject files and reports of the offices of central administration, including: Administration, External Affairs, Finance, General Counsel and Secretary of the University, Student Affairs, University Relations
    • Correspondence, subject files and reports of deans, directors and administrators of the schools, colleges, divisions, programs and institutes of the University
    • Minutes, memoranda and reports of all major academic and administrative commissions, councils and committees including the University Senate and its committees
    • Departmental records, including: minutes, reports, correspondence, and syllabi
    • Accreditation reports and supporting documentation
    • Annual budget and audit reports
    • Records of the Registrar, including timetables, class schedules, enrollment reports, graduation rosters and other reports issued on a regular basis
    • Alumni records, including minutes of the alumni associations
    • Reports of the Admissions Office
    • Records of student organizations
    • All publications, newsletters and booklets distributed in the name of New York University, including catalogs, special bulletins, yearbooks, student newspapers, University directories and faculty/staff rosters, faculty and administration newsletters and publications, alumni publications and ephemeral material
    • Photoprints, negatives, slides, audio and video film, tapes, and reels, oral history interviews, and optical and compact discs documenting the development of the University
    • Security copies of microfilm reels containing vital records
    • Maps, prints and architectural drawings documenting the physical changes and development of the University
    • Reports of research projects, including grant records
    • Artifacts relating to the history of New York University
    • Electronic record

    The official administrative records of New York University (correspondence, reports and subject files) designated as archival should be inactive and no longer used in the current activities of the originating office. Records should be forwarded to the Archives according to schedule after consulting with the archivist for the orderly transfer of non-current materials. An inventory of records transferred should accompany accessioned material. The originating office may place restrictions on access to non-current records in addition to the restrictions on administrative, Board of Trustees, employee and student records described in the Access Policy statement, Appendix.


    The University Archives seeks to acquire, organize and provide access to the personal and professional papers of New York University faculty as a means of documenting the internal life and culture of the University community. Space and staff restraints in the University Archives and the size of the New York University faculty requires limits the volume of faculty papers that can be accessioned. In appraising and soliciting faculty papers the following criteria are suggested:

    • National or international reputation in a respective academic field
    • Record of service with New York University and contribution to its growth and development
    • Service on the faculty of a recognized area of excellence within New York University
    • Service and contribution in community, state and national affairs.

    The University Archives seeks documentation of the careers of the New York University faculty in the following formats:

    • Correspondence: official, professional and personal.
    • Biographical material: resumes, bibliographies, biographical sketches, chronologies, genealogies, newspaper clippings, and personal memoirs
    • Photoprints and graphic materials
    • Tape recordings of lectures, speeches and discussions
    • Lecture notes and syllabi
    • Research files
    • Departmental or committee minutes and records
    • Drafts and manuscripts of articles and books
    • Diaries, notebooks, appointment calendars and memorabilia.

    The University Archives recognizes the rights of faculty and private donors to impose reasonable restrictions on materials to protect privacy and confidentiality. Restrictions on access should be for a fixed term and determined at the time of donation. The Archives encourages minimal access restrictions consistent with the legal rights of all parties.


    The University Archives will solicit and collect records and papers which are neither official University records or faculty papers, but which relate to the history of New York University. Examples include:

    • Professional and personal papers of the members of the University Council/Board of Trustees if associated with University business
    • Professional and personal papers of eminent alumni relating their New York University experiences
    • Papers or records dealing with the history of Washington Square and University Heights as they relate to the growth and development of the University
    • Papers, records and published items on New York University and its role in the history of higher education
    • Papers, records and published items pertaining to New York University as a major urban institution

Archives Reference Collection

The University Archives Reference Collection includes vertical subject files, biographical directories, archival manuals and publications, copies of books and publications by faculty members, duplicate yearbooks, repository guides, and finding aids and inventories to materials related to New York University that are housed in other repositories.

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