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Using Archives & Special Collections

The primary mission of the Archives & Special Collections at Hobart and William Smith Colleges is to preserve and provide access to sources documenting the Colleges’ history.

Materials housed in Archives & Special Collections are available for research, scholarship, and class use. Reference requests are accepted in person, over the phone, or via email. It is recommended that you call or email before visiting in person so the Archives and Special Collections staff can determine whether the information you seek is likely to be in the collection. Archives staff will research telephone and email requests to the fullest extent that time and staffing allows, but patrons may be directed to do their research in person for more substantial requests.

The Hobart and William Smith Archives & Special Collections are located on the lower level of the Warren Hunting Smith Library. Due to COVID-19, the library is currently only open to members of the HWS community (active students, staff, faculty).

Rules and Guidelines for Using Materials in the Archives & Special Collections

Due to the fragile and irreplaceable nature of archival materials, the Colleges ask that the following guidelines be followed to ensure their protection:

Materials in the Archives & Special Collections do not circulate and are to be used only in the reading room under the supervision of the Archives staff.

Researchers must make an appointment to visit the Archives & Special Collections.

All coats and bags must be left by the coat rack at the entrance to the Archives. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, masks must be worn at all times while in the Archives.

Pencils, laptop computers, and paper are allowed in the reading room. Pens, markers, and highlighters may not be used. Digital cameras are allowed.

Food and beverages are not permitted in the reading room.

Researchers are asked not to use cell phones in the reading room other than for the use of photography.

Researchers will be allowed to consult only one box of materials at a time. Please do not rearrange folders in a box.

Materials must be handled with proper care. Book cradles will be provided for bound volumes; gloves will be provided for use with photographs and certain fragile materials.

Use of materials may be restricted due to physical condition, confidentiality constraints, donor restrictions, or unprocessed state.

When citing materials in the collections, please credit the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Archives & Special Collections as the owners of the materials.

Our Collections

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