Donating Materials

The University of Tennessee Libraries is dedicated to building collections of manuscripts, books, and other unique research materials in support of both the University’s scholarly community and interested members of the general public. Our current collection strengths include:

  • The Civil War in Tennessee
  • Tennessee politics and politicians
  • Religion in Tennessee between 1800 and 1950
  • Native American tribes in the Southeast
  • 20th century Tennessee authors
  • Knoxville’s growth during the 20th century
  • Oak Ridge and the Tennessee Valley Authority
  • The Great Smoky Mountains
  • The University of Tennessee

Donations of personal, family, or organizational papers related to these collecting strengths are welcome.

Why should I donate my materials?

Letters, diaries, photos, and other material collected over the years give vital and unique information regarding your life or the history of your family or organization. Whether or not members of your family attained a degree of fame, they have contributed to the heritage of a certain time and place. When you donate your papers to the UT Libraries, your history becomes a part of the community’s collective memory.

What types of materials might the UT Libraries accept?

We accept collections of as small as a single item and as large as dozens of boxes. Material need not be organized, old, or related to a famous individual, event or organization for it to be historically significant. Types of materials collected by Special Collections, where most donated materials belong, include:

  • Letters and correspondence
  • Diaries, memoirs, and reminiscences
  • Writings, papers, speeches, and reports
  • Photographs and scrapbooks
  • Genealogical information
  • Records of a business, community group, or organization

There is no need for you to cull or reorganize the materials. In fact, the research value of the materials may be diminished if items are removed or if the records are rearranged. Potential donors, therefore, are encouraged to contact the Libraries before weeding, discarding, or reorganizing their papers.

If it is determined that the materials would be better served in another repository, staff may suggest more appropriate locations for your donation. If it is determined that the collection belongs in Special Collections, staff will work with you on the physical transfer of the materials and on the completion of a deed of gift.

Is my donation tax deductible?

In certain circumstances, it may be possible for a donor to take a tax deduction for the donation of a manuscript collection.

Please contact Erin Horeni-Ogle at ehoreni@utk.edu or 865-974-0055 for more information regarding donating materials to the UT Libraries.