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Stanford University Archives: Transferring Materials

The Stanford University Archives is the official repository for records of Stanford University and serves as its institutional memory.

Transferring Materials

Help us save and preserve Stanford's institutional memory

Since it was established in 1965, the Stanford University Archives has served as the official repository for institutional records of the University, personal papers of Stanford faculty, and materials of Stanford students, alumni/ae, and associated groups. These materials document the history and evolution of Stanford.

Working with satellite archives at the Medical History CenterLaw SchoolGraduate School of BusinessSLAC, and Department of Athletics, the Stanford University Archives seeks to document the administrative, intellectual, cultural, and social life of the University. Archives staff work closely with Stanford offices, faculty, student organizations, alumni/ae, and donors to identify those materials to acquire and preserve for teaching, learning, and research. 

The Archives adds to its holdings through transfer of University records from offices and departments; donation of faculty members' personal papers; transfer of student organization records from student groups; and donations from the personal papers and memorabilia of alumni/ae and friends.


The Stanford University Archives is the principal repository for Stanford faculty papers. The Archives holds hundreds of personal and professional papers of faculty members dating from before the University was founded and representing nearly every discipline taught at Stanford.

Faculty papers are a vital source of information on the history of teaching, research, and University governance. They are also essential to documenting the intellectual life and the worldwide impact of ideas generated by Stanford faculty. In addition, faculty papers provide unique insight into the personal, social and cultural lives of the Stanford community.

The University Archives collects materials regardless of format, including electronic records. 

Materials of particular interest to the Archives include:

  • Correspondence
  • Lecture notes, syllabi, reading lists, handouts, and other materials prepared for classroom use
  • Research data, journals and notes
  • Conference papers and other documents from involvement in professional organizations
  • Meeting minutes, agendas, and notes from University or other committee service
  • Audiovisual materials, including still photographs and negatives, motion picture film, oral history interviews, audio and video tapes
  • Grant proposals and reports (final versions only)
  • CVs, bibliographies, and biographical statements
  • Unpublished manuscripts
  • Subject files (selectively -- we are not interested in reprints, but we are interested in associated correspondence and other unpublished materials).

That said, every faculty member is unique and each collection contains special materials, in a variety of formats that may be of long-term interest. Archives staff work with faculty to examine their collections and gain insight into their work to better understand what materials make up their papers.

Legal & ethical issues

Faculty papers are considered the property of their creators and are given to the University through a deed of gift.

In the course of their careers, faculty members write recommendations for students and colleagues and may participate in tenure reviews. Recommendations are prepared for one purpose and cannot legally be reused for another purpose without the permission of the subject. To protect the privacy of individuals, the Archives requests that when possible recommendations be removed from faculty papers before they are donated.

Honors papers and other undergraduate work that may be included in class materials received by the Archives are considered part of the student’s record. The materials may be read by users, but may not be reproduced (even under fair use guidelines) without the written permission of the author.

We recognize that faculty members may have other concerns related to privacy and confidentiality of content in their papers. We will work with you when necessary to protect sensitive materials through appropriate access restrictions.

How to proceed

Faculty members are encouraged to contact the Archives to schedule a site visit, discuss procedures for donation of papers, or for advice of any kind about their materials. Staff are available to help evaluate the historical significance of faculty papers and guide you through the process of donating papers to the University Archives. Additional information about the donation process is available online.

University staff

University records

Records of long term historical and legal significance produced by University offices in the course of conducting official University business should be transferred to the Archives when they are no longer needed for day-to-day administrative activities. Records will remain accessible to department staff following transfer to the Archives. When necessary, Archives staff will work with you to address privacy and confidentiality concerns through access restrictions for third-party users.

The Archives collects materials regardless of format. Digital files which fall into any of the categories listed above may also be transferred to the Archives for long term preservation in the Stanford Digital Repository.

Materials of particular interest to the Archives include:

  • Annual reports
  • Correspondence, including email, reflecting substantive departmental activity rather than routine administrative tasks
  • Audit and inspection reports
  • Legal opinions and decisions
  • Handbooks and manuals
  • Budgets
  • Meeting minutes, agendas, and background material
  • Organizational charts
  • Official histories
  • Maps and architectural records
  • Policy documents
  • Mission, goals, and objectives statements
  • Reports, briefing papers, and studies
  • Project files
  • Statistical documentation of departmental activities
  • Speeches and remarks
  • Two copies of all publications produced by your office or department
  • Photographs and negatives
  • Audiovisual materials, including audio and video recordings
  • Ephemera (e.g. posters, flyers, handouts) documenting events and activities
Senior administrators

In addition to formal administrative records, the personal and professional archives of Stanford’s presidents, provosts, deans, and directors add much to the documentation one of the most prominent and influential research universities in the world.  

Our administrative history collections date back to the 17th century and encompass personal and family papers, administrative records and artifacts. These materials provide a diverse picture of Stanford’s administrative life. Included in these collections are the personal papers of presidents, provosts and deans. Not only do these materials document the evolution of the University, but also relationships, cultural and social changes, and shifts in values and mores over time.

Senior administrators are welcome to contact the Archives for further information about identifying appropriate professional or personal materials appropriate for preservation in the Archives.

How to proceed

Consult our Instructions for Preparing Material For Transfer. University Archives staff are available to assist with evaluating records for transfer to the Archives. For more information or to schedule a site visit, contact us at

Students, alumni/ae, and families


Administrative office records and faculty papers tell only part of the Stanford University story. Materials created by Stanford students are a core component of the University Archives, providing unique insight into student experiences both inside the classroom and elsewhere on campus.

The University Archives is committed to preserving documentation of the full range of Stanford student experience, including the experience of Stanford students of color, Stanford women, members of the queer community, and activists. Please see more information about this ongoing initiative.

We actively seek materials from current and former students relating to academic work, papers, course notes, extracurricular activities, athletics, and residential life. We collect materials regardless of format, including digital files. 

Items of particular interest include:

  • Diaries, journals or blogs
  • Course notes, syllabi, and assignments
  • Photographs
  • Audio and video recordings
  • Memorabilia, flyers, posters, or other promotional materials
  • Scrapbooks
  • E-mail
  • Social media
Student organizations

The Archives also collects in the records of student organizations as these materials document the cultural and social network of Stanford student life. Preserving these records not only provides documentation of the groups and the individuals who participate in them, but also the events they sponsor and the evolution of the social, cultural and political circumstances bringing them together.  These materials are of particular interest to scholars who study social and political movements, leadership, campus culture, and university policies.

The Archives would like to help Stanford student organizations document their history and their activities and invite them to donate their records for preservation and research.  The Archives is interested particularly in:

  • Constitutions and bylaws
  • Annual reports
  • Meeting minutes and supporting documentation
  • Correspondence of student organizations that documents programs, activities, and events
  • Membership rosters
  • Photographs, clippings, press releases, and scrapbooks
  • Publications/newsletters
  • Social media

The Archives collects materials documenting the intellectual, social, and cultural aspects of student and alumni/ae life on the Farm. Alumni often have key materials that help expand our documentation of student and academic life at Stanford. Unfortunately, student and alumni materials are often discarded after their immediate use, and, as a result, are lost to history.

The Archives seeks the personal papers and memorabilia of alumni focusing on their time and activities at Stanford and/or their continuing relationship with the University.

Materials of interest include

  • Diaries, correspondence, and scrapbooks
  • Records and memorabilia from student organizations and clubs
  • Flyers, posters, invitations, and other materials from events and social activities
  • Photographs and audio and video recordings
  • Alumni publications
Family and friends

The Archives collects published and unpublished materials documenting all aspects of the Stanford community, including materials from family members and friends of the University.  Through these kinds of donations, the Archives documents changes in social and cultural traditions over time, the experiences of a diverse range of individuals and groups at Stanford, and shifts in attitudes, mores and society at the University.

Materials of interest include

  • Personal and professional archives and memorabilia created by or belonging to people who have had a significant relationship to Stanford
  • Records and other materials collected or created by non-Stanford individuals and organizations enhancing our knowledge of Stanford and the surrounding community history
  • Books and publications about Stanford or the surrounding area
  • Non-Stanford but University-related collections of major research significance
How to proceed

Consult our Instructions for Preparing Material For Transfer. Archives staff are available to help evaluate the historical significance of your material and guide you through the process of transferring it to the Archives. If you have any questions, please contact us at