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Archives and Special Collections: Collection Policy

An introduction to the materials available in Clark University's Archives and Special Collections.

Collection Policy

The principal purpose of the Robert H. Goddard Library’s Archives and Special Collections Department is to collect, preserve, provide access to, and encourage the use of the archival materials, books, and other items in the department’s collection. The Coordinator of Archives and Special Collections is responsible for the development of collections in this department.

The Clark University Archives collects materials that the archives staff deems to be of potential enduring historical value about the university. The staff selectively accessions the non-current records of the university and of certain faculty members. These materials are chosen for their lasting administrative, legal, historical, or research value. Decisions about what to add to the collection are guided by the university's Records Retention Policy and Records Retention Schedule. Clark faculty and staff can get copies of these documents by contacting the archives.

The Special Collections area acquires books about the university, books about the greater Worcester area, and books written by current and former university faculty members. Furthermore, the holdings of special collections include the manuscript collections of certain Worcester authors. In addition, the coordinator of the department and the collections management librarians decide which books are too fragile, rare, or valuable to remain in an unsecured area. These books are then transferred to special collections; this manner of growth is restricted due to the limited availability of shelf space.

Levels of Collecting Priority

Collect – Archives and Special Collections will acquire materials by donation or attempt to purchase materials in this category. In areas of highest priority, Archives and Special Collections staff will be pro-active in seeking out materials of significance. Acquisition funds can be used to purchase materials for existing collections when funds are available.

Maintain – Material in this category represents collections already held in Archives and Special Collections. Collections will be maintained at their current level but, with the exception of donations, additional funds will not be used to expand these collections.

Current strengths of the special collections area and its collecting priorities:

Primary strengths:

  • Clark University - collect
  • Clark faculty books - collect
  • History of books and printing - maintain
  • Miniature books - maintain
  • Rocketry - collect about Robert Goddard; otherwise maintain
  • Worcester area - maintain

Secondary strengths:

  • Books by and about Edmund Wilson - maintain
  • Fine Arts Press materials - maintain
  • First editions - maintain
  • Books about Antarctic exploration - collect; other exploration books - maintain
  • History of cartography - maintain
  • William Blake facsimiles - maintain

Rare Book Room strengths:

  • Fore-edge paintings - maintain
  • Incunabula - maintain
  • Nineteenth century English literature - maintain
  • Religious works - maintain