What records does the Reuther Library collect from civic and urban organizations?


The most common question donors have is, “What types of records do you want?” Listed below are general types of records we collect from area civic and urban organizations. This list offers guidelines but is not definitive. Because records vary so much from one organization to another, you should still speak directly with an archivist to share more details about the records.

The Walter P. Reuther Library seeks originals of most record types. If the organization wishes to keep the originals of some documents, such as constitutions and bylaws, copies can be substituted. If you have record types not on the list, please feel free to ask about them.

WANTED: Researchers often find the following types of materials most helpful.

  • articles about the organization or written by organization members
  • awards
  • budgets and/or year end summaries
  • committee files
  • constitution/bylaws
  • correspondence
  • director’s and officers’ files
  • event, program, and project files
  • films/videos/audio tapes (labeled and identified) produced by the organization, or its members
  • founding documents, charters, articles of incorporation (unframed)
  • meeting minutes and agendas
  • membership statistics
  • organizational charts
  • photographs, preferably with identifying information like names of people, date,
    location, and event
  • press releases
  • publications by the organization
  • scrapbooks
  • transcripts, testimonials, speeches, and speech notes

*Legal files and collections of books, videos, or artwork not produced by the organization or its members must be discussed with an archivist before shipment.

NOT WANTED: The following materials have minimal historical value or cannot be opened for research due to privacy concerns. If you have record types listed below that you believe have value, please discuss them with an archivist.

  • applications for jobs, scholarships
  • audio recordings that are inaudible and/or unlabeled
  • bank statements
  • blank stationery
  • cancelled checks and/or check stubs
  • cash journals
  • conference planning files and registration forms
  • routine correspondence (thank you notes, dues statements, hotel reservations, etc.)
  • duplicates
  • files of newspaper clippings and magazine articles on topical areas
  • invoices
  • personnel or human resources files
  • petty cash slips
  • photographs with no identifying information
  • plaques, trophies
  • videotape recordings that are inaudible or un-viewable and/or are unlabeled