Contribute Materials

The Thomas Jefferson University Archives & Special Collections collects a variety of materials that document the University's activities and support the teaching mission of the institution. The decision to accept or decline new material will be made on a case by case basis. For more information about what we collect, see our Collecting Policies. For general inquiries about donating to the Archives & Special Collections, please contact us at 215-503-8097 or email

What Has Archival Value?

If you think your office has files or other materials that should be preserved as part of our permanent record, please call the Archives & Special Collections at 215-503-8097.

Records with historical value include those that document policy and major decisions, record major activities or events, summarize financial or other statistical data, or clarify procedures.

The following is a generic list of records that should be routinely transferred to the Archives. Remember: if you are in doubt, don't throw it out!

  • Constitutions and by-laws, minutes, proceedings, and lists of officers of University corporate bodies;
  • Office files: correspondence and memoranda; subject files documenting projects, activities and functions; departmental rosters and directories;
  • Files documenting policies and decisions, committee and task force reports, questionnaires;
  • Non-current personnel records;
  • Non-current student records;
  • Research, patent, contract and grant administration records;
  • Publications: programs, journals, annual reports and other monographs; newsletters; brochures; and other printed and graphic material issued by the University, its offices and departments should be forwarded to the Archives (401 Scott) at the time of distribution;
  • Maps, architectural plans and drawings; and
  • Audio-visual materials (photographs, films, sound and video recordings, multi-media presentations)

Preparing Your Donation

Physically Preparing and Packing Records

  1. Remove bulky hardware, such as paper clips, ring binders or rubber bands. (Over time, these materials can deteriorate and harm the records.)
  2. Place files in labeled manila folders (not hanging folders).
  3. Date all files, to enable later access. Even approximate dates (e.g., circa 1980-1985) are more useful than no dates.
  4. Keep files in original order, if possible.
  5. Pack files tightly so that folders do not bend or lean.
  6. Pack files in record-storage boxes (approximately 12"x15"x10"). Do not use ultra-long storage boxes (12"x24"x10"). They are too large to fit on our shelving and are too heavy to lift when full.

Labeling Boxes

  1. Each box should be clearly labeled in pencil on the narrow face of the carton. The label should include:
    • the name of the office
    • the series (general category) to which the records belong (e.g., correspondence, student records, subject files). Be as specific as you can.
    • the range of the material (whether it be alphabetical, numerical or chronological)
    • relevant dates
  2. The month and year of transfer should be written in pencil in the lower left-hand corner.
  3. The number of the box should be penciled in the lower right-hand corner, along with the total number of boxes being transferred (e.g., "Box 2 of 7").

Identifying Restricted and Confidential Material

Your office is responsible for identifying sensitive or confidential material within your files. Examples of such material include:

  • class lists with grades or annotations about individual students;
  • letters of recommendation for students, faculty or staff;
  • employment records containing confidential data about salary or personal matters;
  • patient records; and
  • information about gifts and donors

Note: Improper release of confidential information could have legal ramifications for the University and staff involved. By clearly identifying confidential materials at the time of transfer in the appropriate place on the Transmittal form, you help the Archives apply its policies and procedures for restricted materials.

If only partial contents of individual files are confidential or restricted, this material should be removed from the file and placed in a folder with the same label as the original. (If the contents of an entire folder are restricted, remove the entire folder.) The new folders should be marked "RESTRICTED" and placed together at the end of the material being transferred. Boxes containing restricted material should be so labeled.

Transfer Request Forms

Every transfer of records MUST be accompanied by a University Archives Records Transmittal form, with a complete listing of contents (box titles and folder titles).

Under NO circumstances will records be accepted in the Archives without a properly completed Transmittal form.

The original and one copy of the Records Transmittal Form and any additional contents list should accompany the material to the Archives. Your office should keep one or more copies, as needed for reference use. A copy of the Transmittal Form will be signed by the Archivist and returned to your office to acknowledge receipt.