What does the WLA collect? The WLA collects and makes available permanently valuable records of women and women's organizations, which document women's lives, roles, and contributions.
The WLA is especially interested in the subject areas of activism and women’s issues; authors; education; environmental issues; public service; social justice; women religious; and the fine, performance, and visual arts. Mundelein College Alumnae may donate records to the Mundelein College Records Collection or, consider donating personal papers if they fit the aforementioned subject areas.
Geographically, the WLA prioritizes collecting first within Chicago, second within the Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin), and third within the United States, although collections of donors who work internationally may be considered if they are based in or at one point resided in one of the geographical collecting areas.
For more details on what and how the WLA collects, download a pdf of the Women and Leadership Archives Collection and Acquisition Policy here.
Donating Materials: An Overview
Donating personal or organizational records is both a legal and personal process which can take from a few hours to a few years to complete depending on the concerns and materials involved. It is different for everyone. How to start the process? Often a general conversation with a professional archivist about what materials you have and what it means to donate materials will make both parties feel more comfortable with the process. To read more about donating personal papers, see Donating Your Personal or Family Records to a Repository from the Society of American Archivists.
As the process proceeds, an archivist is able to help you identify your rights as a donor, evaluate the material, arrange the pick up or shipment of the records, and guide you through the legal transfer of your materials to the archives. For detailed information on the deed of gift, which is a legal agreement between donor and repository that transfers the ownership of the donated materials, see A Guide to Deeds of Gift from the Society of American Archivists.
Organizations as well as individuals are encouraged to donate records to the WLA. Non-active organizations as well as those still in existence may donate inactive records to the archives. Donations from organizations are different from individual donors in several ways. First, a representative from the organization is required to sign the deed of gift. Second, for active organizations, details regarding non-active archival records will need to be navigated with the archivist. Common questions asked by current organizations include what amount and dates of records should be sent and what is done if copies are needed once records come to the WLA. For more detail on donating organizational records, see Donating Your Organization's Records to a Repository from the Society of American Archivists.
What to donate? Each archives is different and often limited by space and resources. Within these limitations, however, there is usually a great deal of diversity in the types of records that can be accepted in a collection. The following are not exclusive lists, but are typical of some of the materials that can be found in an archives.
|Typical Personal Papers||Typical Organization Records|
Clubs and/or associations
Personal correspondence (e-mail, paper, cards, notes)
School course schedules
Report cards, performances, assignments
Curriculum vitae or resume
Materials related to family history (partner, spouse, children)
Scrapbooks and/or photo albums
Photos and other visuals
Lectures and/or speeches
Unpublished & published research
Subject files (relevant to research)
Interviews (tapes and transcriptions)
Awards and/or certificates
Newsletters, fliers, brochures
Committee work (agendas, meeting minutes) conferences
Community activity and/or public service major projects/positions/employment
Proposals and/or grants
Community activity and/or public service
Proposals and/or grants
Photos and other visuals
Ephemera (posters, banners, editorials, buttons)
Speeches, press releases
Subject files (relevant to interest)
Tapes (audio or video) public events
Articles of incorporation, bylaws and revisions
Scrapbooks and clippings
Newsletters/brochures, pamphlets, fliers advertisements
Committee work (agenda, meeting minutes)
What formats of materials does the WLA accept?
- Paper (any kind including regular, newspaper, fax, tissue, laminated)
- Audio-visual (vinyl, 8-track, cassettes, reel-to-reel, slides, VHS, BETA)
- Photographs (almost any condition, size, age, framed or unframed) and slides
- Medium to large three dimensional objects may also be accepted on a case by case basis to ensure they can be properly cared for
What about Electronic Records?
Donations that contain electronic or born digital records, including organizational blogs, websites, or other forms of social media, will be evaluated prior to acceptance to determine the WLA has sufficient resources to preserve the materials and make them available.
If you are interested in donating and would like more information, please contact Nancy Freeman, WLA Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.