Archives and Special Collections
Ruth A. Haas Library
Western Connecticut State University
2022 v. 2.1.2
From its founding as the Danbury Normal School to its present status as a member of the Connecticut State College and University System, Western Connecticut State University has shaped and has been shaped by the surrounding community. It is the duality of this history that is essential to the mission of WCSU’s Archives and Special Collections.
The Archive is the final repository for the historical records of Western Connecticut State University and is a significant repository for collections related to local history. The Archives includes WCSU administrative records, faculty papers, university publications, visual materials, and other media created by the University. It also includes non-WCSU affiliated personal papers, local government and organizational records, visual materials, maps, journals and other media that document the history of the Danbury community. The archives’ holdings amount to approximately 1200 linear feet. The collection includes unpublished, unique manuscript collections, historical publications, maps, recordings, prints, posters, ephemera, and photographs that support WCSU’s curriculum. The University Archives include administrative records, faculty papers, university publications, audio-visual recordings, and photographs.
The Special Collections Library’s holdings include: monographs, and audio-visual materials that pertain to the history of Connecticut and Danbury to supplement primary source materials in the Archives; a portion of the original monograph holdings of the Danbury Normal School’s library; monographs authored/created by WCSU faculty, students and alumni; rare/antique books and other objects donated to the Haas Library or Special Collections that are deemed to be 1) of significant artifactual value and 2) to be unique and essential to support the research needs of the University and the mission of the Archive; and library holdings of significant value to warrant special treatment. There are approximately 1900 cataloged titles currently held in the Special Collections Library that range in publication date from 1626 to the present. Special Collections houses a range of demographical, genealogical, and sociological serials and monographs relating to local history.
Mission statement specific to Archives
- To collect, organize, preserve, and make accessible those records, publications, and artifacts for the University community (administration, faculty, students, alumni, and benefactors)
- To collect, organize, preserve, and make accessible documentary history of Danbury, Connecticut, and its environs, through the acquisition from diverse origins individual and family papers and the records of community, business, social, and arts organizations.
- To actively collect documentation of the University’s and surrounding communities’ history to foster anti-racism.
Specific subject areas where the WCSU Archives has strengths:
- 1970s-era clipart
- Area maps
- Connecticut History (Civil War to present)
- WestConn history
- Regional cookbooks
- General Danbury History, 1900-Present
- Town of Danbury Documents (1880s-1960s)
- Local oral histories
- World War I era war ephemera and propaganda
Mission statement specific to the Special Collections Library
- To collect, organize, preserve and make accessible published monographs, journals, maps, and newspapers that pertain to the history of Connecticut and Danbury to supplement primary source materials in the Archives.
- To preserve and make accessible original published monographs of the Danbury Normal School’s library collection
- To collect, organize, preserve and make accessible materials authored/created by WCSU faculty and alumni
- To collect, organize, preserve, and make accessible published materials deemed to satisfy one or more of the following criteria: 1) the item/s has/have significant artifactual value and is/are relevant to some aspect of the University’s curriculum 2) the item/s that is/are deemed by the WCSU Archivist to be essential to support the research of the Connecticut area and its inhabitants (past or present) 3) item/s relate to archival collections already owned by WCSU.
- To organize, preserve, and make accessible bibliographic materials of significant monetary value that warrant special treatment already owned by the University.
Collection strengths include:
- World War I era war literature
- Regional authors
- 19th Century travel literature
The Western Connecticut State University Archives (AKA WCSU Archives) appreciates donations, transfers, and acquisitions and is committed to the preservation of materials in its possession.
I. Right of refusal
It is sometimes necessary to refuse accession or considering accession of archival materials that 1) Do not adhere to the types of materials outlined in section II 2) Exceed or over-burden the physical limitations of the Archive’s storage and access facilities 3) Exceed or over-burden the processing and budgetary limitations of the Archive’s regular staff 4) Do not have clear title to the donor or are under restrictive copyright restrictions 5) Show signs of past or present infestation (insects, rodents, mold) 6) Have access, use or processing restrictions placed by the donor that are deemed by the Archivist to be overly rigid or limited 7) Are in such a state physically or virtually that could pose some hazard to persons who may handle the materials 8) Will require funds to transport to the WCSU Archives for donation 9) The Archivist assesses the materials’ research value to not warrant the University’s expenditure for preservation in the Archive.
Materials that the WCSU Archivist determines to possess any or one of the above 9 conditions will not be considered for accession. Refusal of materials is not limited to the above 9 conditions; ALL acquisitions to the WCSU Archives are made subject to the approval of the WCSU Archivist/Special Collections Librarian.
II. Collection Groupings
University Archives – Official Records, Papers, and Publications of Western Connecticut State University
Official records encompass the records or papers generated or received by the various administrative offices of Western Connecticut State University in the conduct of their business. The University Archives, while not formally designated the official repository for university-created records, does actively seek and encourage departmental transfers of records created or received in connection with the transaction of University business. These records will include:
- Minutes, memoranda, correspondence and reports of the CSUS Administration collected by WCSU administration.
- Records of the Office of President, including correspondence, administrative subject files and reports
- Correspondence, subject files, and reports of the Office of Academic Affairs
- Correspondence, subject files and reports of the offices of central administration, including: External Affairs, Student Affairs, University Relations
- Correspondence, subject files and reports of deans, directors and administrators of the schools, colleges, divisions, programs and institutes of the University
- Minutes, memoranda and reports of all major academic and administrative commissions, councils and committees including the University Senate and its committees
- Departmental records, including: minutes, reports, correspondence, and syllabi
- Records of the Registrar, including timetables, class schedules, enrollment reports, graduation rosters and other reports issued on a regular basis
- Alumni records, including minutes of the alumni associations
- Reports of the Admissions Office
- Records of student organizations
- All publications, newsletters and booklets distributed in the name of Western Connecticut State University, including catalogs, special bulletins, yearbooks, student newspapers, University directories and faculty/staff rosters, faculty and administration newsletters and publications, alumni publications and ephemeral material
- Photoprints, negatives, slides, audio and video film, tapes, and reels, oral history interviews, and optical and compact discs documenting the development of the University
- Maps, prints and architectural drawings documenting the physical changes and development of the University
- Artifacts relating to the history of Western Connecticut State University
NOTE: The official administrative records of Western Connecticut State University (correspondence, reports and subject files) designated as archival should be inactive and no longer used in the current activities of the originating office. Records should be forwarded to the Archives according to schedule after consulting with the archivist for the orderly transfer of non-current materials. A computer-readable inventory of the records transferred should accompany accessioned material. The originating office may place restrictions on access.
Records that may violate the right to privacy of student or personnel as outlined in the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act and the Connecticut Records Retention/Disposition Schedule (Schedule S5 – Student Records Maintained by Connecticut State Institutions of Higher Education) will not be accepted by the University Archives.
University Archives of Personal and Professional Papers of Western Connecticut State University Faculty
The University Archives seeks to acquire, organize and provide access to the personal and professional papers of Western Connecticut State University full-time faculty as a means of documenting the internal life and culture of the University community.
Space and staff restraints in the University Archives requires that limits (determined unanimously by the WCSU Archivist and Haas Library Director) be placed on the volume of faculty papers that can be accessioned. In appraising and soliciting faculty papers, the following criteria are utilized in determining whether all or part of the materials will be accessioned:
- National or international reputation in a respective academic field
- Record of service with Western Connecticut State University and contribution to its growth and development
- Service on the faculty of a recognized area of excellence within Western Connecticut State University
- Service and contribution in community, state, and national affairs.
The University Archives seeks documentation of the careers of the Western Connecticut State University faculty in the following formats:
- Correspondence: official, professional and personal.
- Biographical material: resumes, bibliographies, biographical sketches, chronologies, genealogies, newspaper clippings, and personal memoirs
- Photoprints and graphic materials
- Audio and video recordings of lectures, speeches, and discussions
- Lecture notes and syllabi
- Research files
- Original and University acquired art
- Departmental or committee minutes and records
- Drafts and manuscripts of articles and books
- Diaries, notebooks, appointment calendars and memorabilia.
- Ephemera deemed to be 1) of significant artifactual value and 2) to be unique and essential to support the research needs of the University
NOTE: The Archives recognizes the rights of faculty to impose reasonable restrictions on materials to protect privacy and confidentiality. Restrictions on access should be for a fixed term and determined at the time of donation. The Archives encourages minimal access restrictions consistent with the legal rights of all parties.
Archives of Family and Individual Papers, and Organizational and Institutional Records that document the history and life of the Greater Danbury Area. Areas of interest include:
- Local history (primarily late nineteenth century and after)
- Immigrant and minority history and organizations
- The arts
- Local organizational records
- Historic records of local government agencies and officials
Formats for Family and Individual Papers, and Organizational and Institutional Records that document the history and life of the Danbury Area include
- Correspondence: official, professional and personal (print and electronic)
- Photographic and visual materials (art, maps, drawings, etc.)
- Audio and video recordings
- Diaries and business records
NOTE: The Archives recognizes the rights of private donors to impose reasonable restrictions on materials to protect privacy and confidentiality. Restrictions on access should be for a fixed term and determined at the time of donation. The Archives encourages minimal access restrictions consistent with the legal rights of all parties.
Primary Source Archival Materials, and Organizational and Institutional Records that support the current curriculum of the University. Items accessioned in this category must satisfy all these criteria:
- Have a demonstrated benefit that will support a program currently offered by WCSU.
- Have non-University in-kind monetary support for the processing and preservation of the materials
- Have been determined by the archivist to have no other repository that could better serve and preserve the materials while still being a resource for WCSU students to utilize.
Special Collections Library
I. Right of Refusal
The Special Collections Librarian and Archivist have the right of refusal for any materials designated for donation to Special Collections. It is sometimes necessary to refuse accession of Special Collections materials that 1) Do not adhere to the types of materials collected (outlined above) 2) Exceed or over-burden the physical limitations of the Library’s storage and access facilities 3) Exceed or over-burden the processing and budgetary limitations of the Library’s regular staff 4) Do not have clear title to the donor 5) Show signs of past or present infestation (insects, rodents, mold) 6) Have access, use or processing restrictions placed by the donor that are deemed by the Library to be overly rigid or limited 7) Are in such a state physically or virtually that could pose some hazard to persons who may handle the materials 8) Will require funds to transport to the WCSU Special Collections Libary for donation 9) The Special Collections Librarian and Archivist assesses the materials’ research value to not warrant the University’s expenditure for preservation in Special Collections.
Materials that the WCSU Archivist and Special Collections Librarian determine to possess any or one of the above 9 conditions will not be considered for accession.
II. Collection Groupings:
Local History-related published materials. These materials will include:
- Connecticut and related genealogical materials
- Current Connecticut State publications
- Local history-related materials in all formats
WCSU Related Materials. These materials will include:
- Monographs that are historic artifacts of the University
- Faculty and alumni authored monographs
- Printed materials donated by faculty and staff that are deemed to be 1) of significant artifactual value and 2) to be unique and essential to support the research needs of the University
- Graduate theses
Non-Circulating/rare or unique library holdings. These materials will include:
- Antique books are considered to be of continued research value
- Rare books
- Published audio/visual media relating to local or university history
- Microfilm of non-WCSU archival materials relating to local history
- Materials that support the historical context of the WCSU Archives’ archival holdings.
NOTE: Gifted books and materials designated as Special Collections will be non-circulating. Materials should be forwarded to the Archives only after consulting with the archivist for the orderly transfer. An inventory of the materials and an indication of the gifts’ source should be included so that the materials may be properly accessioned. The originating party may place restrictions on access.
Collection Acquisition Workflow
The WCSU Archives’ materials are acquired in the following ways:
- Transfer of custody or Administrative Transfer. Materials received by the Archive in a transfer are considered the property of WCSU and the State of Connecticut. Materials accessioned by the Archives are maintained and administered by the Archive and are subject to Connecticut State regulations relating to Archival and Museum collections.
- Custodial transfer applies to public records in which legal custody transfers from one office to another.
- Letter of intent indicating the name of the person making the transfer, the date, department, and the WCSU Archives as the intended recipient.
- Indicate any restrictions on the materials
- Inventory of contents
Donations may be solicited or accepted from members of the University and outside community.
- Deed of Gift agreement
- a description/inventory of the materials
- name, address and signature of donor
- date of donation
- description of any restrictions on the use of or access to the collections
- the signature of the Archives and Special Collections representative accepting the donation.
Other considerations for donations:
- The WCSU Archives and Special Collections Library reserves the right to de-accession any or all parts of donation in adherence to the Deed of Gift Agreement.
- The WCSU Archives and Special Collections Library discourages loans of materials. If loaned materials are accepted, the owner must sign a memorandum of deposit indicating the period of the loan, outlining any restrictions and delineating liability.
Purchase of manuscript and archival materials is normally not authorized by the University. If a significant collection becomes available only through purchase, such an acquisition may be considered. Potential donors should note that purchase of such materials tends to discourage donations by other potential donors.
The WCSU Archivist and Special Collections Librarian will make only research value appraisal of materials. No research value appraisal by the WCSU Archivist should be considered to be quantifiable in any monetary way.
The responsibility of appraising the monetary value of donations remains with the donor. By law, the Archivist and those employed by the Archives and Special Collections Library are not permitted to provide monetary appraisals.
The Archivist will not provide documentation for tax deductions that may be associated with a donation. According to the Tax Reform Act of 1984, Section 155, deduction claims for a charitable contribution of property or properties to one or more charitable organizations, the total claimed value which exceeds $5,000, must include a written appraisal of the donated property from a qualified appraiser and be attached to IRS form 8283, signed by the donor, and enclosed with a tax return.