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Humanist Special Collection: Donating Archival Material

Donating Archival Material

Formed in conversation with the Unitarian Universalist Humanist Association, the Humanist Special Collection houses archival materials that document the growth and impact of humanism within both Unitarian Universalism and the larger world. The Humanist Special Collection contains personal papers from notable humanists, the records of humanist organizations and congregations, and collections centered around specific themes and events tied to humanism.

By making these documents accessible to students, researchers, and the larger humanist community, the Humanist Special Collection ensures that the full theological and intellectual diversity of Unitarian Universalism will be part of the archival record. The Humanist Special Collection also acts as a hub for humanism, humanists, and other non-theists at Meadville Lombard and as a resource for the ongoing growth and development of humanism.  

To tell the story of humanism, both within Unitarian Universalism and beyond it, we need your help. We are interested in materials that document humanism. This includes:

  • Personal papers of humanist leaders. Personal papers include sermons/public speeches, articles, correspondence, and documents related to donor’s activism and the organizations and communities the donor served.
  • Records of humanist organizations. Records are documents produced by an organization. This mainly consist of board minutes, internal topic/subject files, publications, and other materials that reflect the functioning of the organization.
  • Records of humanist communities. These records include both organizational records, if the community is connected to an organization, and material that documents the experiences of the community itself.
  • Accumulation of historical material pertaining to a single event, theme, or movement  within humanism.
  • Historically and culturally significant manuscripts and artifacts.

To best serve researchers decades into the future, the Humanist Special Collection requires that ownership of donated material be transferred to Meadville Lombard. While we prefer that copyright is transferred as well, we will work with donors who wish to retain copyright to ensure their needs and the needs of researchers are met.

If there are materials, both within personal papers and organization records, that are historically significant but would not be appropriate to make them immediately accessible to researchers, we will work with donors to create reasonable restrictions.


Ask an Archivist

If you have any questions about the Meadville Lombard Archives and Special Collections, just ask!

We can help with...

  • Scheduling an archive visit
  • Accessing archival materials
  • Using our digital archive tools
  • Answering reference questions
  • Scanning selections of documents
  • Donating archival material to Meadville Lombard
  • Creating archives at your local congregation

Meadville Lombard Wiggin Library
180 N. Wabash Ave.
Suite 625 
Chicago, IL 60601

Library and Archives Phone: 312-546-6488        Library Email:        Archives Email: