M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives
M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives About these images M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives

Collection Development Policy

A. Introduction

The principal purpose of The M. E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives is to collect, preserve, provide access to, exhibit, and encourage research use of the University Libraries' unique manuscript and archival materials, the official records of the University, rare books, and printed materials. These materials are acquired by gift or purchase and serve the current and future research interests of faculty, students, and others affiliated with the University as well as other qualified researchers from the region and beyond.

B. Collection Development Responsibilities

The Staff has primary responsibilities in the categories below, but Department faculty work in all collecting areas as needed:

Head of Special Collections: Archives of Public Affairs and Policy; German and Jewish Intellectual Émigré Collection

Curator of Manuscripts: Archives of Public Affairs and Policy; Business, Literary, and Miscellany Collections

University Archivist: University Archives; Archives of Public Affairs and Policy

Special Collections Librarian: Rare Books and Other Printed Materials; German and Jewish Intellectual Émigré Collection; Miriam Snow Mathes Children's Literature Collection

C. Collection Statements - Active Collections

1. The German and Jewish Intellectual Émigré Collection

The German and Jewish Intellectual Émigré Collection was established to preserve the personal papers and related research materials of German-speaking intellectuals who came to the United States after 1933 from Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe. The emphasis is on building discrete collections of original manuscripts.

Languages: German, English, French
Geographic Areas: United States, Germany
Chronological Periods: 1890 - present

Scope: The collecting areas include:

Personal papers of former members of the University in Exile, now the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science of the New School University in New York City.

Personal papers of émigré social scientists (economists, sociologists, anthropologists, and political scientists), humanists (historians, philosophers, art historians, and musicologists), writers (novelists, poets, journalists, and political writers), and artists (musical performers and graphic artists).

Personal papers of émigré intellectuals, especially those whose lives, thoughts, and works relate directly to the experience of refugees from Nazi Germany and to the political and social movements of that era (national socialism, the German youth movement, etc.).

Records of organizations founded to assist or further the interests of émigrés.

Selective acquisition of published works by Émigrés.

Types of Materials Collected: correspondence; journals, memoirs, diaries, and notebooks; manuscripts of published and unpublished works; biographical materials; copies of books and offprints of their articles; notes, drafts, and galley proofs; writings' lectures, and speeches; subject files; minutes/reports; brochures and flyers legal documents; professional papers; photographs, prints and drawings; ephemera, genealogical information, and clippings with information about the émigrés, their lives, times and professional interests; and sound recordings and moving images.

Types of Materials Excluded: routine financial records (invoices, cancelled checks, etc.); artifacts (plaques, statues, etc.), the research value of which is insufficient to compensate for problems of space and storage; and entire libraries of émigrés, since only a small percentage of the books will be retained either for the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives or, subject to bibliographer review, for the general circulating collection of the University Libraries.

2. Archives of Public Affairs and Policy

The Archives of Public Affairs and Policy serves to collect, preserve, and make available important collections representing individuals and organizations that study and seek to affect the development and implementation of public policy in New York State. The collection's strength is in records documenting public policy issues in the Capital Region and statewide.

Languages: English, Spanish
Geographic Areas: United States
Chronological Periods: 1850 - present

Scope: The collecting areas include:

Personal papers of public servants and individuals who have had a significant impact on New York State politics and government, at the local, state, and national level.

Personal papers of local, state, and national legislators of significance. The collections are particularly strong in documentation of key members of the gubernatorial administrations of Nelson A. Rockefeller.

Records of private organizations and individuals relating to political parties, state and local government, lobbying activities, public finance, housing and urban development, environmental issues, education and land use.

Records of private organizations and individuals dedicated to improving the welfare and opportunities of women, African Americans, Latino/as, seniors, persons with disabilities, historically underrepresented groups, and new population groups in New York State.

Records of private organizations and individuals which document business, labor unions and labor-management relations in the greater Capital District area and statewide.

Criminal justice, including the development of the National Death Penalty Archive.

Social welfare, including social gerontology, human services systems and programs, mental health, health services, and social work practices.

Public media and folklore.

Types of Materials Collected: Organizational records including: architectural records; articles of incorporation, constitution, bylaws; budgets; newspaper clippings; correspondence; directories; financial statements; handbooks; legal documents; memoranda; minutes of meetings; membership lists; newsletters and other publications (generated by the organization); organizational charts; pamphlets, brochures, fliers, etc.; photographs; planning documents; press releases; reports (annual, committee, etc.); rosters; scrapbooks; speeches; and subject files.
Personal papers including: correspondence; journals, memoirs, diaries, and notebooks; manuscripts of published and unpublished works; biographical materials; copies of books and offprints of their articles; notes, drafts, and galley proofs; writings' lectures, and speeches; subject files; minutes/reports; brochures and flyers legal documents; professional papers; photographs, prints and drawings; sound recordings and moving images; and ephemera, genealogical information, and clippings.

Types of Materials Excluded: most financial documents, selected books, and objects.

3. University Archives

Non-current records of the University at Albany (including all offices, departments, and divisions of the University and its predecessor institutions) are appraised and selectively accessioned for permanent preservation in University Archives because of their lasting administrative, legal, historical, or research value. The University Archives also selectively accessions faculty papers, records of student organizations, and alumni memorabilia. (Note that non-permanent, inactive University records are not part of the University Archives and are stored at an off-site records center).

Languages: English
Geographic Areas: New York, primarily Albany
Chronological Periods: 1844 - present

Scope: Since the University Archives were established in 1971, the following types of records have been deemed to have permanent value:

University records required to be preserved permanently according to the Records Retention and Disposition Schedule of the State University of New York.

Official papers of the presidents of the University.

Minutes and other policy-making records of University governing bodies, committees, academic departments, institutes and research centers.

Administrative records of enduring value relating to management and planning, instruction, students, personnel, finances, plant, alumni activities, and research at the University.

Official serial publications, including catalogs, bulletins, class schedules, reports, and yearbooks; publications with the University imprint; occasional publications such as special reports; and student and alumni publications.

Public relations materials, such as press releases, official photographs, sound recordings, moving images, newspaper clippings, and artifacts (memorabilia, objects, etc.) documenting the history of the University.

Masters theses and doctoral dissertations written by graduate students at the University and accepted in fulfillment of degree requirements.

The personal papers of faculty, students, and administrators of the University at Albany (including all offices, departments, and divisions of the University and its predecessor institutions) relating to the history of the institution.

The records of the State University of New York (SUNY Central) pertaining to the creation and construction of the Uptown Campus.

Any other records offering substantive evidence of the history and policies of the University and its predecessor institutions.

4. Miriam Snow Mathes Historical Children's Literature Collection

The focus of the Miriam Snow Mathes Historical Children's Literature Collection is on books and periodicals for children and young adults, published in the United States between 1875 and 1950. In order to illustrate the history of children's literature, the collection also includes a representative selection of American and British children's books (1501-1874.)

Languages: English, French, Russian
Geographic Areas: United States
Chronological Periods: 1850 - 1960

Scope: The collecting areas include:

MATRIX materials, an extensive gathering of obscure and forgotten works that formed the bulk of publishing for children. This is the first priority for acquisitions. Although the Mathes Collection will never include a majority of all the works published in any of the periods covered, the goal is to have enough of this matrix material to provide (a) a fuller documentary context for the historical and critical study of children's literature, and (b) valuable supplementary documentation for research in social and cultural history. Since children's literature is not written by children, the style and content of this material reflects, by what it offers and what it suppresses, the hopes, fears, values and biases of the adults who were writing, publishing and disseminating literature for children in the Anglo-American tradition. Many of the run-of-the-mill materials in this category (e.g., toy books or miscellanies or series books) were once widely marketed and more widely read than most or much of the material in the next two categories.

Works by REPRESENTATIVE authors from the periods covered. These works, which fall into a second priority category, are the ones that are often included in syllabi and reading lists covering the history of children's literature. They include works which were once widely known but are usually not in children's libraries today-although their authors or titles or main characters may still be alluded to (e.g., The Pilgrim's Progress, Goody Two Shoes, Sandford and Merton, Peter Parley books, Horatio Alger books, Pollyanana, Tom Swift, Uncle Wiggily, etc.). Also included in this category are obsolete kinds of literature that are considered to be typical of certain eras (e.g., chapbooks, dialogues, religious tract publications, Sunday school books, words-of-one-syllable editions, etc.).

Editions of the CLASSICS of children's literature. Since these texts are still available in many libraries, this is a third priority category. In this category, emphasis is placed on providing subsequent, variant and adapted editions before 1950.

Types of Materials Collected: Published books.

Types of Materials Excluded: Unpublished material

D. Collection Statements - Inactive Collections

1. Unique and Specialized Books

Although we occasionally purchase some materials, the majority of additions to this collection are through transfer from the University Libraries' Collection or via donations.

Languages: English, Latin, French, Hebrew, Yiddish, Spanish, Portuguese
Geographic Areas: All
Chronological Periods: All items printed before 1800, regardless of place; All pre-1820 American imprints, regardless of place; All pre-1876 Western Americana and Confederate imprints (1860-65). Some post-1900 materials especially dealing with New York State.

Scope: The collecting areas include:

Albany and New York State history, including monographs, imprints, city directories, works by local authors and other materials.

Pre-1950 books, pamphlets, trade catalogs, ephemera, and other materials about American business and industry. Subjects include railroads, shorthand, sugar industry, tariffs, telegraphs, and other subjects pertaining to the history and economy of New York State.

Nineteenth Century English illustrated books, including works of Thomas Bewick, George Cruikshank, and illustrated editions of Andrew Lang, and Twentieth Century English small-press books.

Facsimile editions of Mesoamerican codices. These publications are of Mesoamerica's long written tradition, which can be traced back to before the arrival of Europeans in the New World. This written tradition has left a legacy of documents such as calendars, religious works, historical manuscripts, and "civil books," which deal with the daily affairs of colonial Mexico. These provide a unique body of materials for archaeological, linguistic, and ethnohistorical research. For an annotated bibliography of the Libraries holdings: http://library.albany.edu/subject/codices.htm

Political pamphlets on social and economic thought, 1900-1950, including pamphlets and ephemera pertaining to European and American socialism, radical movements, and social welfare.

First and/or early editions of Harlem Renaissance authors.

The collection of books printed by the Elzevier family headquartered in the Dutch Republic, 1583-1702.

Mordecai Kosover collection of rare books (sixteenth through nineteenth centuries) relating to European Jewish history and religion.

The O'Reilly Collection of more than 500 French plays, chiefly from the 1775-99 period; Diderot encyclopedia as well as other printed material on French art, science, and culture.

Substantively annotated books from the libraries of individuals whose papers are part of the Department's archival manuscript collections.

Types of Materials Collected: First editions of significant works of literature, especially American and British; First or early editions of landmark works in subject disciplines other than literature; Signed and inscribed books and association copies of important individuals. Significant limited editions (300 or fewer copies) related ot the history of New York State; Finely printed, illustrated, designed, or bound books, especially those representing the work of significant contributors to the field of books arts and the history of the book.

Types of Materials Excluded: Unpublished material.

2. Business, Literary, and Miscellany

Manuscripts, records and papers primarily related to businesses and people of New York and New England; selective collections from English and European writers.

Languages: English, Spanish, Russian
Geographic Areas: primarily New York and New England regions, but also Spain, Russia, and England
Chronological Periods: 1642 - present

Scope: The collecting areas include:

New York State writers; illustrators of children's books; papers of a 19th century social reformer; and papers of selected European writers.

Regional economic history, including account books of small businesses and records of rail roads, canals, and shipping companies in New York State and New England during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Types of Materials Collected: Organizational records including: account books and ledgers; articles of incorporation, constitution, bylaws; budgets; newspaper clippings; correspondence; directories; financial statements; handbooks; legal documents; memoranda; minutes of meetings; membership lists; newsletters and other publications (generated by the organization); organizational charts; pamphlets, brochures, fliers, etc.; photographs; planning documents; press releases; reports (annual, committee, etc.); rosters; scrapbooks; speeches; subject files; and sound recordings and moving images.
Personal papers including: correspondence; journals, memoirs, diaries, and notebooks; manuscripts of published and unpublished works; biographical materials; copies of books and offprints of their articles; notes, drafts, and galley proofs; writings' lectures, and speeches; subject files; minutes/reports; brochures and flyers legal documents; professional papers; photographs, prints and drawings; sound recordings and moving images; and ephemera, genealogical information, and clippings.

Types of Materials Excluded: books and objects

3. Security Collection

The Department maintains a collection of books solely for security reasons, rather than because of their age, rarity, or exceptional monetary or artifactual value. These books are recommended for transfer to Special Collections by the bibliographers and accepted by the Head of Special Collections and Archives, contingent upon the availability of space.

Examples of books transferred for security reasons are oversized art books with tipped-in color plates and pictorial publications prone to mutilation, and books in certain "high-theft" subject areas such as erotica and photography. Books in these areas are reviewed periodically and returned to the circulating collection if no longer considered to be in "high-theft" subject areas. Books are not stored in Special Collections if they can be accommodated on Reserve. It should be noted that brittle and severely damaged books -- if they have no artifactual value but the bibliographers wish to save their intellectual content -- are referred to the University Libraries' Preservation Office for repair or reformatting. Some materials transferred to or initially placed in Special Collections for security reasons circulate while other materials do not. The subject bibliographer makes a circulation decision at the time of the transfer.

Languages: English
Geographic Areas: United States
Chronological Periods: 1800 - present

Approved by Library Policy Group, July 2006


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