Archives & Special Collections houses Amherst College's rare books, literary manuscripts, written materials of unique value, historic photographs, sound recordings, moving image recordings, and a large collection of objects. It serves as the official repository for the records of Amherst College, including those pertaining to academic programs and departments, College administration, and student activities. The department collects a wide range of historical and biographical materials relating to alumni, alumnae, faculty and other individuals connected with the College.
The print holdings of Archives & Special Collections contain over 80,000 books and 11,000 linear feet of archival materials. The department houses major collections of Emily Dickinson’s books and manuscripts, along with extensive holdings of other poets and writers. The history of Amherst College and the local community is extensively documented through books, manuscripts, photographs, film, and objects. Other strengths of the collections include natural history, especially ornithology; missionary activity; travel literature; theater; international politics and diplomacy; and social justice and activism.
Archives & Special Collections within Amherst College Digital Collections holds thousands of digitized objects selected from the physical holdings of the department. All Archives & Special Collections material in ACDC may be in the public domain, in copyright and made freely available to the public with permission from copyright holders, or made available under the Fair Use section of U.S. copyright law. Some material is available for use under a Creative Commons license.
The criteria for selecting materials for digitization from Archives & Special Collections are based on the materials’ copyright status, their scholarly and cultural significance, the impact of digitization on user access to materials, the materials’ preexisting organization and metadata, relationships to other collections, and funding sources. See the Digital Initiatives & Web Services Department’s Digital Collection Development Policy and the Archives & Special Collections’ Collection Development Policy for more information. Many collections are digitized in full. Some collections only selected material that was chosen to be digitized based on the collection development criteria, these collections are noted as Selections and have additional physical material held in Archives & Special Collections.
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