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Library and Archive Policies

Special Collection Overview

A Unitarian Universalist archive involves more than simply collecting UU materials; it means applying our UU values and principles to how the archive functions. One way we do that is through our Special Collections, which are gatherings of unique archival materials produced by a specific community traditionally excluded from the archival record.  

Special collections contain archival materials pertaining to a single event, theme, or movement within Unitarian Universalism and seek to empower communities to preserve and make accessible their history on their terms.

Each special collection is guided by a steering committee of UU religious professionals, lay UU’s, and other stakeholders who are members of the community the special collection serves. Each steering committee is led by a chair recruited and recommended by Meadville Lombard’s archivists and appointed by the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs for a two-year term.

Special Collection Chair Requirements and Responsibilities


  • A meaningful and accountable relationship with the community served by the special collection
  • A connection with Meadville Lombard Theological School
  • A commitment to the mission of Special Collections at Meadville Lombard


  • Leading the steering committee in formulating a vision for the special collection, including new archival acquisitions, digitization projects, and other programming
  • Acting as a contact for the special collection when reaching out to other organizations
  • Working with a MLTS archivist, convene least two online/phone meetings a year of the entire steering committee
  • Working with a MLTS archivist, seek out grants and donations to support the special collection
  • Working with a MLTS archivist, recruit members to serve on the steering committee

Role of Archives Staff in Special Collections

  • Advising Special Collection Chair
  • Implementing library and archive policy
  • Running day-to-day operations of the archive (processing, digitization, and patron support)
  • Managing the execution of grants and donor projects
  • Handling acquisition logistics
  • Connecting the special collection to resources (financial and staff) available at Meadville Lombard

Relationship to the Archives

Just as many individuals and organizations are part of many communities and carry many identities, in some instances, archival material will be part of multiple special collections even if is acquired by just one in particular. In these instances, we work with the donor to determine what special collection(s) for which their material is best suited.

All archival material acquired and placed in a special collection are also part of the larger Meadville Lombard Archives and Special Collections and are owned by Meadville Lombard Theological School.

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

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