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.
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.