Special Collections and University Archives


UNF Special Collections and University Archives welcomes gifts of manuscript collections, books, and unique materials that meet our collection development guidelines, especially those that pertain to documenting the history of UNF and Northeast Florida regional history.

A book open to a page depicting a historic, aerial view of Jacksonville, Florida.

If there are any questions regarding items that UNF will accept please email lib-special@unf.edu.


What Rare Books are Collected?

In general, the geographic focus of Special Collections is on the NE Florida/SE Georgia region (St. Johns River Basin, as far west as Ocala/Gainesville, First Coast, as far south as St. Augustine, as far north as Jekyll Island in coastal Georgia), with a significant interest in Jacksonville content. Classic Florida history books are also collected.

A book titled In the Wilds of Florida housed in Special Collections.

Donations of books about UNF and Northeast Florida regional history, including those newly published, are appreciated. Acceptable donations include:

  • Books with significant Jacksonville/regional content, or
  • Support an existing collection within Special Collections (for example Civil Rights, Black history, and Women’s history), or
  • Support an existing body of collected works (for example Irish literature).

Special Collections collects books by local authors, both non-fiction and fictions. For a book to be considered the author must have subject authority and the book must be truthful, accurate, credible, and useful to UNF researchers.


If there are any questions regarding books that Special Collections will accept please email lib-special@unf.edu.

What Does Special Collections Collect?

Special Collections documents the unique history of Northeast Florida. That can include personal or family papers or records from local institutions or businesses.

Historic photograph of a soldier standing in front of a tent.

It is not possible to create an all-inclusive list of items that Special Collections will accept. Please see Guidelines for Personal Papers Donations for family papers and Guidelines for Organizational or Institutional Collection Donations for records from local businesses or institutions.

What Does University Archives Collect?

The University Archives collects items documenting the different levels within UNF, including colleges, departments, offices, support services, and student organizations. Memos, reports, announcements, brochures, catalogs, and other publications are typically collected.

Historic photo of UNF students sitting in front of the former Boathouse Cafe.

Materials about events and activities on campus including programs, announcements, posters, flyers, and photographs are welcome additions to the collection, as are UNF artifacts and memorabilia. The Archives collects physical items as well as digital. Film, video, and sound recordings in various media are included in the collection. Selected faculty and administrative papers are collected in the Archives, including those of past presidents.

Please see Guidelines for Faculty Papers Donations for more information about what the University Archives will accept.

What to Expect When Donating

  • Anticipate being asked to provide an inventory of items to be donated. An archivist may request details about the collection and a team from UNF may come to make an onsite assessment of the materials.
  • UNF will confirm which items fit best in Special Collections; there is a chance that not all items will fit within the collection policy, so the entire collection may not be accessioned. Items not included will be returned to the donor.
  • Prior to accepting any records from an organization, UNF requires the legal department and records manager of the organization to sign-off on the transfer of documents before a Deed of Gift is signed. 
  • If digital files are donated there is no need to print them all out, however, please prepare a list of what is included on each disc, CD, DVD, or flash drive. 
  • Please note that only records not actively used should be given to UNF to archive. 
  • Please be sure that all materials transferred to UNF are clean, complete, and do not contain insects or mold.
  • Once both parties have reached an agreement regarding the donation, Special Collections will draw up a Deed of Gift, which is a legal document transferring both the physical collection and the copyright to UNF Special Collections. For additional information about the library’s donation policies, please consult our Library Gifts of Materials Guidelines.

Please also keep in mind:

  • Archivists would rather sort through everything than lose information that has been unintentionally edited out.
  • The original organization of a collection tells the story of the collection and re-arranging it will change the context as well as confuse any prior inventory of the materials.
  • Binders, plastic sleeves, paper clips, rubber bands, metal fasteners and anything that is not archival grade storage media will be disposed of during archival processing. There is no need to rehouse the collection or spend money on office supplies that will be thrown away.

To donate to Special Collections and University Archives, please email lib-special@unf.edu.

Financial Donations

This guide describes the types of materials that Special Collections and University Archives focuses on. We welcome financial contributions to support processing and housing of new collections. Please see Giving to the Library for more information about the Special Collections Enrichment Fund.