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Collecting Policy

Special Collections (SPC) and Walsh Gallery Collecting Policies


Department Overviews

The Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center (SPC) collects exceptional non-current materials possessing valid research value that are produced by or have a direct connection to Seton Hall University and its educational mission, or unique materials documenting the history of Catholicism in New Jersey and several other subject areas noted below; we also house select materials from our parent organization, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark.

The Walsh Gallery maintains long-term stewardship for the care, research and display of Seton Hall University’s collections of art and artifacts.  Founded in 1994, the gallery’s permanent collection consists of objects that provide a rich and diverse resource of culturally and artistically significant objects that enhance and enrich the mission of the University Libraries and Seton Hall University.  Our collections are available for exhibition, teaching and research. More information on the Walsh Gallery's collecting areas is available on its website.

Both units are committed to a responsible level of collecting by staying within the constraints of available storage space, ability to process material within a reasonable amount of time, and ability to provide for the care and preservation of, and access to, the material. Dispersal or fragmentation of a research collection is inconvenient to researchers and does not enhance the reputation of the institution. Special Collections will try to avoid acquiring material known to be primarily collected by another institution, unless there is a compelling reason to accept the material.  The highest priority is given to original materials in our collecting areas that are not available elsewhere.


SPC Collecting Areas

  • Seton Hall University, 1856 - present (see below also)
  • Archdiocese of Newark, 1853 - present
  • American Catholicism and its antecedents
  • American Civil War
  • Catholic New Jersey, 1600 - present 
  • Ireland and Irish American Studies
  • Italy and Italian American Studies
  • Jewish-Christian Studies
  • New Jersey Social, Political, Cultural and Ethnic Studies
  • Portugal and Portuguese American Studies

University Archives Collecting Areas

  • Board of Regents and Trustees
  • President and Provost
  • Vice Presidents and Academic Deans
  • Records that highlight campus life, i.e. faculty and student diaries and financial ledgers
  • Administrative and faculty or alumni records that are unique
  • Manuscript materials and rare books and volumes bearing ownership markings of a person of importance to the University or to the Archdiocese of Newark. 
  • Self-Study and Accreditation Documentation
  • Annual Reports and budgets
  • University Publications (newsletters, magazines, yearbooks, catalogs, handbooks and related print works) and mission, goals and objectives statements; official policies and histories


SPC Rare Book Collecting Areas

  • SPC maintains a Rare Book collection – largely in the areas covered by the “SPC Collection Focus Areas” noted above.  That is, material in this category largely represents collections already held in Archives and Special Collections. Collections will be maintained at their current level and enhanced primarily by gifts, and rarely, purchases
  • Rate titles of local interest by/about faculty, alumni, administrators, and others connected with Seton Hall University and/or the Archdiocese of Newark and Catholic New Jersey will be collected.  Similar non-rare items will reside in the main collection.


Types of Materials the SPC Does Not Accept

The SPC reserves the right to refuse any item(s) from a donor regardless of format that does not fit into our collection scope, is of questionable condition (badly deteriorated or containing mold or parasites), is of uncertain provenance, or that we do not have the ability to house adequately. 

  • Plaques, trophies, garments and other 3 dimensional objects unless integrally related to our collecting scope
  • Material appropriate to the main library collection
  • Photocopies & reproductions
  • Duplicates unless they are in superior condition
  • Research notes unless as a sub-unit of a collection of related primary material
  • Government documents
  • Autographs with no historical significance 
  • Audio/visual formats like magnetic tape, cassettes, VHS or film unless integral to our collecting scope
  • Files documenting routine activities such as room scheduling, travel logistics, etc.
  • General memoranda except for one record copy from issuing office
  • Forms and routine financial documents such as vouchers, receipts and canceled checks
  • Publications that were retained for reference purposes


SPC Procedures for Transfer (In Brief)

The guidelines for preparation, organization, and shipment of materials for donation will be outlined and discussed between the donor and SPC. University offices wishing to transfer records should refer to the Records Management Guide to Transferring Records site.

All external donations must be represented through our Deed of Gift form which includes a description of the materials and of any restrictions attached with the donation. All materials accepted by the SPC are subject to final approval by the Dean of University Libraries, Assistant Dean of Special Collections and the Gallery, and designated members of the SPC staff where applicable. A formal agreement and signed Deed of Gift constitutes the final transfer of ownership and associated rights of any donation received by the SPC.


Valuation of Donations

It is the responsibility of the donor to keep accurate records describing the individual items donated and the value of each.  The SPC cannot appraise gifts:  the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires an independent appraisal if a donor plans to claim a charitable deduction above a certain value.  Donors are encouraged to consult knowledgeable tax experts regarding current IRS regulations in regard to such gifts that are ultimately accepted by the SPC.

In the rare case where the donor does not wish to take a tax deduction, and there is sufficient evidence or extant expertise among the SPC staff to judge that the donation may be worth $5,000 or more, the Dean of University Libraries will contact University Advancement for their option to have the item(s) appraised at their expense for purposes of stewardship, donation and insurance valuation.

Donations to the SPC will be formally acknowledged in writing. 



The final disposition of research materials housed in the SPC is made according to the judgment of the staff in consultation with the Assistant Dean of Special Collections and the Gallery. Procedures for the de-accession or removal of any materials will be administered along the same lines of donation, conducted as a serious and thorough exercise to determine the case for removal.  In such cases, efforts to identify appropriate locations for the materials will be made: for example, to other university special collections, sale, or gift.


We do not house any University records that are still in active use. Files that have a particular retention period fall under the jurisdiction of Records Management. Once materials are past the period of active use and have been sent to our facility they cannot be recalled by the originating department, office, or individual and become a permanent part of the Archives & Special Collections holdings.  Records and materials from offices and organization of the Archdiocese of Newark to be housed at the SPC are determined by the Archivist of the Archdiocese of Newark.


Policy last revised June 8, 2016