Loyola University Chicago

Women and Leadership Archives

Collection Policy

Updated November 2023


The Women and Leadership Archives (WLA) collects and makes available records of enduring historic value, which document women’s lives, roles, and contributions. Part of the Ann Ida Gannon, BVM, Center for Women and Leadership, and the Loyola University Chicago Libraries, the WLA supports the research needs of the Loyola community, visiting students and scholars, and the general public. The WLA makes records available in its Reading Room located in Piper Hall in addition to digital collections and exhibits. More information on Reading Room hours and appointments are available at LUC.edu/wla.

Collecting Scope

The WLA actively seeks records from diverse individuals and organizations.

Records of individuals and organizations should relate to one or more of the Subject Areas listed below. Organizational records should relate to organizations founded by women, women focused organizations, or organizations that have a strong women’s component. Please note that the WLA does not accept the records of religious orders, but may accept collections from individual women religious, should the collection meet the other criteria listed. Collecting will focus on the Chicago area, Midwestern states, and the United States, in that order. International collections may be considered if they are of exceptional research value.

Formats accepted include letters, documents, ephemera, manuscripts, scrapbooks, photographs, slides/negatives, and audio visual materials. Three dimensional and oversized objects including works of art may also be accepted on a case by case basis to ensure they can be cared for properly. Donations that include digital records will be evaluated prior to acceptance to determine the WLA has sufficient resources to preserve and make them available. Accepted digital file formats will be discussed with potential donors.

Subject Areas

  • Activism and Women’s Issues
  • Athletics
  • Civic and Cultural Engagement    
  • Education           
  • Environment
  • Fine, Performance, and Visual Arts
  • Mundelein College           
  • Public Service and Politics
  • Science, Technology, and Engineering
  • Social Justice
  • Women Religious

Acquisition Process

Collections may be acquired for the WLA via gift or bequest. The acquisition process for an item or collection is guided by the following criteria:

  • Relevance to the WLA collection policy.
  • Size and condition of the item/collection.
  • Ability of the WLA to process, preserve, and make the records available.

Collections may not be accepted under the following conditions:

  • If legal ownership is in question.
  • If it consists of a partial collection when major portions of the collection have been donated elsewhere.
  • If requirements come with the gift that cannot be met.

The WLA Director makes the final decision regarding collection acceptance to ensure the donation fits with the WLA collecting policy; that resources are available to preserve and make available collections to researchers; and that the university’s gift policy is followed. All donation negotiations will be handled by the WLA Director, who may enlist the assistance of the Dean of Libraries and/or the Director of the Ann Ida Gannon, BVM, Center for Women and Leadership. If a collection is not suitable for the WLA, the WLA Director will refer the donor to more suitable repositories.

In addition to the WLA Director, the Director of the Ann Ida Gannon, BVM, Center for Women, and the Dean of Libraries have authority to accept collections for the WLA. When possible, they will consult with the WLA Director prior to accepting a donation.

Deed of Gift

All donors, or legal designees, are required to sign a deed of gift transferring legal title to the WLA. The signed deed of gift becomes a part of the permanent collection record. Collections without a deed of transferring legal title will not be accepted. The deed of gift includes transfer of copyright to the WLA. Copyright may also be shared between donor and the WLA or reside with the donor for a number of years and then transferred to the WLA. Cases when copyright is not transferred outright to the WLA will be clearly noted in the deed of gift.

If the donor requests the return of material for which there is a deed of gift, the Dean of Libraries and University legal counsel will be consulted prior to a decision of return. No donation will be accepted that is not open for public access immediately or upon some specific future date.

Donors, working with the WLA Director, may specify that parts or all of a collection may be temporarily closed or restricted for a reasonable period of time. Such restrictions will be clearly stated in the deed of gift. Donations that a donor wishes to see all, or parts of, closed permanently will not be accepted.

Because of Internal Revenue Service regulations and conflict of interest issues, the WLA may not appraise donated materials, provide tax advice, or interpret tax laws.

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.

See Donating Records for more information.


Loans of materials will only be accepted in rare cases. Deposits of materials will not be accepted without the explicit agreement that such materials will be gifted in the future to the WLA, for example, by the estate of the donor.

Deaccessioning Policy

Occasionally it may be necessary to remove material from a collection. Deaccessioning is the term used regarding formal removal of materials from the custody of an archives through return to the donor, transfer to a more appropriate institution, or destruction.

The following factors are considered when considering de-accession of an item or collection:

  • The item or collection can no longer be properly stored, preserved, or used.
  • The item or collection no longer retains its physical integrity, identity, or authenticity.
  • The item or collection is duplicated elsewhere in the WLA collections.
  • The item or collection is too costly to store, display, or maintain.
  • The item or collection no longer fits within the WLA collection policy.

When one or more of these factors have been met, deaccessioning may be initiated by the WLA Director. If more than 20% of a collection is considered for deaccessioning, the WLA Director will determine the best procedure for handling the materials, make a recommendation to the Dean of Libraries and the Gannon Center Director, and carry out the recommendation. A permanent deaccession list will be created and maintained by the WLA Director.