Steven Chu, professor of physics, in laser lab.

The Archives is the principal repository for Stanford faculty papers. The Archives holds hundreds of personal and professional papers of faculty members dating from before the University was founded and representing nearly every discipline taught at Stanford.

Faculty papers are a vital source of information on the history of teaching, research, and University governance. They are also essential to documenting the intellectual life and the worldwide impact of ideas generated by Stanford faculty. In addition, faculty papers provide unique insight into the personal, social and cultural lives of the Stanford community.

The University Archives collects materials regardless of format, including electronic records. 

Materials of particular interest to the Archives include:

  • Correspondence
  • Lecture notes, syllabi, reading lists, handouts, and other materials prepared for classroom use
  • Research data, journals and notes
  • Conference papers and other documents from involvement in professional organizations
  • Meeting minutes, agendas, and notes from University or other committee service
  • Audiovisual materials, including still photographs and negatives, motion picture film, oral history interviews, audio and video tapes
  • Grant proposals and reports (final versions only)
  • CVs, bibliographies, and biographical statements
  • Unpublished manuscripts
  • Subject files

That said, every faculty member is unique and each collection contains special materials, in a variety of formats that may be of long-term interest. Archives staff work with faculty to examine their collections and gain insight into their work to better understand what materials make up their papers.

Faculty members are encouraged to contact the Archives to schedule a site visit, discuss procedures for donation of papers, or for advice of any kind about their materials.

Legal & ethical issues

Faculty papers are considered the property of their creators and are given to the University through a deed of gift.

In the course of their careers, faculty members write recommendations for students and colleagues and may participate in tenure reviews. Recommendations are prepared for one purpose and cannot legally be reused for another purpose without the permission of the subject. To protect the privacy of individuals, the Archives requests that when possible recommendations be removed from faculty papers before they are donated.

Honors papers and other undergraduate work that may be included in class materials received by the Archives are considered part of the student’s record. The materials may be read by users, but may not be reproduced (even under fair use guidelines) without the written permission of the author.

We recognize that faculty members may have other concerns related to privacy and confidentiality of content in their papers. We will work with you when necessary to protect sensitive materials through appropriate access restrictions.

How to proceed

Consult our Instructions for Preparing Material For Transfer. Staff are available to help evaluate the historical significance of faculty papers and guide you through the process of donating papers to the University Archives. For more information, please contact us at universityarchives@stanford.edu.