Statement of purpose

The Perkins Archives contains a wealth of information on Perkins’ history and the global history of education and social conditions of people who are blind, visually impaired, or deafblind. The mission of the Archives is to preserve this material and make it available to researchers.

The Archive’s holdings include Perkins’ annual reports, publications, teachers’ journals, correspondence, ledgers, audiovisual materials, and photographs. Also available are many of Laura Bridgman’s papers, journals, correspondence, and personal effects, the Nella Braddy Henney collection of correspondence with Helen Keller, and many examples of the European and U.S. printing and writing systems for the blind.

The Archives will continue to collect such materials providing they are the property of the School because they were created by Perkins’ administration, staff, and faculty. Any materials transferred to the Archives will be accessioned, arranged, and described, and their descriptions will be made accessible online as promptly as possible. However, the Archives reserves the right to decline those materials that duplicate or are outside of the subject area of the collections, for which appropriate storage cannot be provided, or for which there may be copyright or privacy issues.

The Perkins Archives is open to researchers and the public. Archival materials are accessible to staff and visitors only under the supervision of Library and/or Archives staff.

Records and materials to be collected

The records of the official and educational activities of the School, including papers and correspondence, official printed material, minutes, committee files, financial, and associated records in any format, are the property of Perkins School for the Blind and constitute potential archival material.

The Archivist shall consult with appropriate administrative officers regarding any special conditions of access that may be placed on any category of records. It is understood that in the absence of specific restrictions, all materials transferred to the Archives will be open to all researchers.

Appraisal & accessioning

The Archivist of the Perkins Archives is responsible for the appraisal (evaluating the appropriateness) and accessioning of the records and materials. All materials accepted by the Archives will be accessioned: assigned a unique identifying number, and described briefly (office of origin, type of records, date range, content, condition, restrictions). The Archivist will maintain a file of accession records.

If someone not a part of Perkins administration or staff wishes to donate materials to the Perkins Archives, they are requested to contact the Archivist to determine whether the offered materials are appropriate and fit within the scope of the collections policy. If the offered materials are judged to be appropriate, before they are accessioned, the donor will complete a Deed of Gift provided by the Archivist. The School cannot perform or pay for monetary appraisals of gifts that a potential donor may desire for tax purposes.

Donations that are mailed or dropped off without prior authorization by Perkins Archives may be discarded at the staff’s discretion and are considered legally transferred to the Archives. The Archives staff claims the right to dispose of unsolicited materials in any manner it deems appropriate. Unsolicited donations will not be returned.

Perkins Archives does not collect:


The Archivist may need to limit access to original materials because of their condition or fragility. Such restrictions will be clearly described for each group of records and noted in the appropriate collection description / finding aid.

The Archives may receive records and materials that may have certain restrictions placed on their access and usage, mandated by federal and state regulations or recommended by School counsel. Such restrictions shall be recorded on the Accession Record and Finding Aid.

Any researcher wishing to publish from Archives materials agrees to obtain permission prior to publication from the Archivist and from all holders of copyright. The researcher agrees to accept full responsibility for complying with laws enacted to protect copyright and privacy rights. The Archives is obligated to deny access to materials that are protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and other relevant privacy laws.

Research requests received through the mail, e-mail, or over the telephone will be handled as time, the availability of staff, and the fragility of the material allow.

Deaccessioning guidelines

Because most of the materials in the Perkins Archives are assets — both intellectual and historical — of Perkins School for the Blind, they shall be maintained according to the highest standards of care that the School can afford. But, as these materials and collections are accessed or arranged, rehoused, and described, it may become apparent that some of these materials:

  • May fall outside of the stated Collections Development Policy;
  • May have deteriorated beyond usefulness or lack physical integrity;
  • May duplicate other holdings of the Hayes Research Library and Perkins Archives – and not be in as good condition as those other holdings.

Such materials may be deaccessioned and removed from the collections upon the recommendation of the Archivist, subject to review by the Head of the Department.

If, however, the condition or fragility of the original materials is such to warrant restrictions upon access, but the information in these materials is regarded as integral and essential to the history of Perkins and its programs, the Archivist may authorize the “reformatting” of these materials to facilitate access to the information. When reformatting or copying has been completed, access to the original will be prohibited, and it may be discarded.

The Archivist shall keep records of all reformatting and deaccessioning procedures and ensure that the catalogs and/or finding aids of the Perkins Archives reflect such changes.