Using Archives and Special Collections in Dwight Hall

Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections is open to all users, including students, faculty, and staff of the Five College community, scholars, and the public. Users must register and check-in with our staff each day when they arrive and agree to abide by our Reading Room policies.

Visitors are encouraged, but not required, to contact Archives and Special Collections staff prior to their visit. Prior notice allows us to pull together a list of potential resources and to have resources ready upon your arrival. If you have a question about materials in a certain collection, visiting the collections, or anything else, please contact us by writing to

All materials must be used in the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room in Dwight Hall. Patrons may bring pencil and paper, laptops, tablets, phones, cameras, and/or reference materials to the tables, and will be asked to store all other personal belongings in the provided lockers on their arrival. Use of the Reading Room is reserved for those using our materials.

Information about requesting scans or photocopies is available here

General Statement of Access

The Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections recognizes and adheres to the ALA-SAA Joint Statement on Access: Guidelines for Access to Original and Research Materials.

1. Archival Records

a. Under most circumstances archival records will not be made available for research until they have been accessioned and catalogued.

b. College archival records, other than widely distributed public documents such as catalogs, handbooks, publicity photographs, etc., will normally remain closed for a maximum period of twenty-five years from the date of their creation unless the office of origin has designated a shorter or longer period. The opening date for access to files spanning several years will be twenty-five years from the most recent date. Access will be given to materials already twenty-five years old contained within a collection that is not yet open when such material can easily be isolated from the rest of the collection.

The only records that are closed for a longer period are

i. Board of Trustees records, 50 years

ii. Student records, 75 years

iii. Personnel records, 75 years

c. Other records may be restricted for more than twenty-five years with the permission of the office of origin and/or the President of the College or a Presidential designee.

d. During the restricted period, the records will be available only to the President's Office, the office of origin, and the staff of the Archives and Special Collections. Consideration will be given for access by others, particularly researchers unaffiliated with college when a written request is presented to the Head of Archives and Special Collections and written approval has been obtained from the appropriate officer in the office of origin or the appropriate college officer now responsible for the function performed by the office of origin.

e. The records will be made available in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Archives and Special Collections, a department of the Mount Holyoke College Library and Federal and State regulations.

f. This policy will not impinge upon the normal administrative uses of college records.

2. Special Collections materials

a. Under most circumstances special collections material will not be made available for research until they have been fully processed or catalogued.

b. Restrictions on access to Special Collections materials are at the discretion of the Archives and Special Collections Librarian in consultation with each individual donor.

Approved by the Mount Holyoke College Board of Trustees March 8, 1996.