Access & Use

The Department's primary mission is to serve Thomas Jefferson University students, faculty, staff and affiliates. However, the public, regardless of institution affiliation, is welcome to visit the Archives. Our staff is available to assist you by appointment, Monday through Friday (closed weekends and holidays). Before your visit, please become familiar with our access and use policies below.

Access to Materials

The Archives subscribes to the standards for access to original research materials adopted by the Society of American Archivists and the Association of College and Research Libraries. The University Archives and Special Collections are closed-stack collections. All materials must be brought to patrons by Archives staff, and must be used in the designated research areas only. Access to certain materials may be restricted by statute, by office of origin, or by the donors. The researcher must assume full responsibility for fulfilling the terms connected with any restricted materials. The Archives also reserves the right to restrict the use of materials which are not arranged and/or which are fragile. A number of our collections have been digitized and can be found in the Jefferson Digital Commons.

Requesting Materials

  • Request only one collection at a time and use no more than one box at a time. Use one folder from a box at a time.
  • Maintain the existing order of materials within each folder and box. If there is any doubt as to the order or if there is apparent damage, please notify the staff.
  • Be aware that some material is stored at a remote location and must be requested 24 hours in advance.

Handling Materials

Because they are irreplaceable and often very fragile, archival and special collection materials must be handled with great care. Items must lie flat on the surface of the reading table; nothing should ever be placed on them, or written on them. Notes may be taken with pencil (no pens), typewriter, laptop computer, or tape recorder. Eating, drinking, and smoking are prohibited.


In general, the Archives will consider requests for limited reproduction of material when such duplication can be done without injury to the materials and when duplication does not violate confidentiality, donor agreements or copyright restrictions. Photocopying of archival materials will be done on the premises by Archives staff. (Please note that permission to reproduce does not constitute permission to publish.)

Permission to Publish and/or to Cite From TJU Archival Materials

Permission to publish from unpublished manuscripts or published works under copyright must first be obtained from the holder of the copyright. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure that permission. In many instances, the Archives does not hold copyright. For more information, please see the Rights and Reproduction Policy.