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Archives and Special Collections collects the papers and other records of individuals, institutions and organizations associated with Mount Holyoke College. Archives and Special Collections also collects rare books related to a wide variety of areas, fields and disciplines. All of these materials are maintained as primary resources for teaching and research conducted by students, faculty and other users.

Archives and Special Collections has been shaped and strengthened through the generosity of thousands of individuals who have supported it through the decades. The rich and diverse collections are the result of the thought and effort of generations of loyal alumnae, faculty, librarians and archivists and friends of Mount Holyoke.

We welcome donations of collections or of single items that directly support or complement the historic collections.

The first step in making a donation is to contact Deborah Richards, head of Archives and Special Collections.

Donating archives

The manuscript collections document the social history of the United States and other countries primarily as seen through the eyes of women and the educators of women. The collections also document the social history of Mount Holyoke College through the letters, diaries, photographs, scrapbooks and course records of faculty and students.

Each year, these collections are consulted by thousands of researchers from around the world. With the donation of each new collection, we are able to increase the breadth and depth of our resources to better serve the educational needs of the College and of scholars who are drawn to our collections due to Mount Holyoke's prominent place in the history of women's education. Each donation helps to enlarge the documentation of not only the effect of Mount Holyoke on the world but the effect of individuals on the institution itself.

Below are lists of some types of materials that Archives and Special Collections collects. Please note that these lists are not definitive; there may be other types of documents or records that may have continuing research value.

Personal and family papers

  • letters,
  • diaries,
  • scrapbooks,
  • photographs,
  • MHC course syllabi,
  • biographical information, and
  • audio/visual recordings.

Institutional and organization records, including class years and student organizations

  • articles of incorporation,
  • by-laws,
  • annual reports,
  • correspondence,
  • meeting minutes,
  • legal documents,
  • planning documents,
  • press releases,
  • publications,
  • photographs, and
  • audio/visual recordings

Donating rare books

The Rare Books collection serves as a primary resource for teaching and research conducted by students, faculty and other researchers. Donations to this collection, or monetary donations for the purchase of rare books, help us to increase the breadth and depth of our collections and allow us to better support the curricular needs of the College.

The Archives and Special Collections main rare book collections include books written specifically for girl readers between 1830 and 1970; American history; illustrated editions of Dante Alighieri's Divina commedia; 19th-century books that are known to have been used in the courses of study at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary; rare children's books; published works related to the Collège de 'pataphysique; Renaissance science books; and fine press books. Because our collections cover more than these main areas, gifts of books will be considered on an individual basis. 

The first step in making a donation is to contact Deborah Richards, head of Archives and Special Collections.