The American College of Bankruptcy (College) values the preservation of all documents
and materials concerning bankruptcy and insolvency having historical significance.
Its recognition of the need to gather these historic materials in one place culminated
in a collaboration between the College and the University of Pennsylvania Biddle
Law Library (Law Library) in the formation of the National Bankruptcy Archives
(NBA). These archives were established by the Law Library pursuant to an Agreement
(Agreement) entered into between the College and the Law Library on March 18,
2000. The College Board of Directors assigned the task of preparing Guidelines
for Donations to the NBA to the History/Archive Committee of the College which
has collaborated with the Law Library in producing them.
Special Collections Department
3460 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3406
Records Suitable for Transfer to the NBA
Important to the NBAs archival
collection are original, inactive records and materials that illustrate
the purpose and policies of any organization whose activities have been in some
way relevant to the history of bankruptcy and insolvency legislation, regulation
and administrative and judicial determination or that relate to the activities
of individuals who had an impact on this history. The College is an example of
such an organization.
What is meant by "inactive," and when are
copies of documents acceptable? Although archives normally contain only original
documents, copies may be acceptable when the original is lost or when there is
no chance that the original would ever be available to the NBA and the
document is indisputably important. "Inactive" implies that records
to be transferred to the NBA should no longer be used for routine business.
related groups of materials should be transferred to the NBA together. Because
the research value of records is diminished if items are removed or rearranged,
records should not be weeded, discarded or rearranged before they are donated.
Examples of materials suitable for sending to the NBA by an organization,
including the College, include:
Articles of incorporation or charters
Bylaws and revisions
of officers, committee members and the Executive Director
or transcripts of meetings
Motion picture films and videotapes
Newsletters and other publications generated by the organization
Pamphlets, brochures, fliers, etc.
Photographs (labeled) or portraits
Reports (annual, committee, etc.)
* Access to certain records of an organization, records
important to the completeness of the archives, may, by agreement with the donor,
Donations by Individuals to the NBA
In the collections
of individuals who have been active in bankruptcy and insolvency practice or teaching
and scholarship, there are materials very important to the NBA. Letters, diaries,
unpublished writings, tape recordings, photos and other materials collected over
the years give vital and unique perspectives. Often they illuminate the history
of specific events or societal trends, as well as the financial and cultural history
of the bankruptcy and insolvency community.
The NBA welcomes donations as
small as a single item or as large as dozens of boxes. Materials need not be "old"
and need not be organized. In fact, individual donors and/or their
should be advised that the importance of the materials is often diminished if
items are removed or rearranged. There may be historical value in the way an individuals
papers were arranged.
Examples of historically valuable materials in the
collections of individuals include but are not limited to:
to an individuals civic, business, professional organization, religious,
political and social activities
Films and videos (Labeled)
Ownership of Materials
Placed in the NBA
Transfer of ownership to the NBA of materials deposited
with it is optimum. Attached to these Guidelines, as Appendix
B (Acrobat/PDF file), are copies of two forms for use by donors of materials
to the NBA. It is hoped that most donors will use the "Deed of Gift"
form. However, donors unable or unwilling to gift the materials may use the form
establishing a custody arrangement and assigning copyright interests to the Law
Library in so far as that is possible. Neither a gift nor a consignment of materials
to the NBA can be effective without the acceptance signature of the Library Director
or a designated archivist.
Sensitive material may exist in records transferred
to the NBA by the College or by other organizations or individuals. In order to
protect the privacy of living individuals or for other good cause, restrictions
on access to portions of collections may be necessary. The NBA will work with
donors of such materials to establish appropriate restrictions or time limitations
with a preference for distinct periods of time. If the Law Library, in processing
materials contributed to the NBA by the College or other organizations or individuals,
notes especially personal or potentially embarrassing content, that content shall
be brought to the attention of the College or other donor for review. The College
or other donor may request return of that material with any expenses associated
with the return born by the donor.
Assignment of copyright
in donated materials can be a complex matter. The donor should discuss issues
of copyright ownership with the Law Library prior to completing any donor agreement.
Generally, copyright belongs to the creator of writings and other original materials,
but can be legally transferred to others. Moreover, ownership of copyright is
separable from the ownership of the physical item (such as a letter or photo).
For this reason, the Law Library for the NBA, like other professional archives,
normally requests that donors donate not only the physical papers or other materials
but also any copyright in them that the donor has. This practice facilitates the
use and quotation of archival materials by researchers at the NBA.
Those organizations and individuals donating materials to the
NBA and interested in seeking a possible tax deduction, will be solely responsible
for arranging for and bearing the cost associated with obtaining such a deduction,
including attorney or appraiser fees.
Access to the NBA Collection
the written policies of the Law Library regarding availability, photoduplication
and publication govern access to the materials in the NBA. A copy of the current
policy is attached as Appendix C to these Guidelines.
AOperation of the Colleges Committee on the National Bankruptcy
An organizations institutional memory is in its records.
The College values the preservation of its heritage and its place in the history
of bankruptcy and insolvency and is committed to saving the original letters,
minutes, reports, photographs, publications and other documents that officers,
members, directors, employees, or volunteers have produced over the years. These
documents will provide unique testimony to the achievements of the College and
Placement of materials in the NBA is not exclusively within
the purview of the College. The Agreement between the College and the Law Library
envisioned that individuals and organizations should be encouraged to donate relevant
materials directly to the Law Library for inclusion in the NBA. The College will
assist the Law Library in the building of the NBA by soliciting donations of materials
from individuals and other organizations.
The College, through its Chair,
President and Board of Directors, shall create a permanent Committee on the National
Bankruptcy Archives through which the College will fulfill its responsibilities
under these Guidelines and pursuant to the Colleges Agreement with the Trustees
of the University of Pennsylvania acting through the Law Library of the University
of Pennsylvania (effective March 2000).
The purpose of this Committee shall
be to act as the liaison between the College and the Law Library in order to facilitate
the building of the NBA.
The membership of this Committee shall be determined
by the Chair and the President of the College; the President shall designate the
Chair of the Committee. Appointment to this Committee should take into consideration
diversity, including geographical diversity.
After the Committee on the
National Bankruptcy Archives has been constituted, it shall establish times
to meet and shall file written reports of its activities at the mid-year
and annual meetings of the College Board of Directors. The Committee shall make
specific proposals to the Board regarding the donation of College records to the
NBA. Those written recommendations shall be transmitted, for approval,
to the Chair, President and Board of Directors no later than the next regularly
scheduled Board meeting after the Committee convenes for the purpose of making
these recommendations. The Committee shall also report to the Board concerning
donations to the NBA that it has either solicited or received.
on the National Bankruptcy Archives will look solely to the College Board of Directors
and/or any Endowment formed by the College for its funding and requests for funding
will be made in writing in compliance with the College rules governing funding
Biddle Law Library Archives
Deed of Gift
Biddle Law Library Custodial Consignment
here to download a PDF file with these forms.
CBiddle Law Library Policy for Use of Materials in Special Collections
The Department of Special Collections and the Rare Books
and Archives Reading Room are located on the second floor of Tanenbaum Hall. Rare
books, archives, and manuscript collections are available for research from 9:00
to 5:00, Monday through Friday. Researchers may walk in to use the collections
any time the department is open, but all books and documents must be retrieved
by librarians and used only in the reading room. All patrons must fill in a sign-in
sheet that asks for the patron's name, address, phone number, affiliation, and
the materials requested. All note-taking must be done in pencil or on a computer.
Since at the present time most of the rare book titles are not in the library's
on-line catalog, researchers may make their visits more productive by phoning,
faxing, or e-mailing ahead to make sure the library has what they need. Paper
and electronic finding aids are available for the archives and manuscripts collections.
Researchers requiring extensive use of the American Law Institute Archives, the
National Bankruptcy Archives or the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform
State Laws Archives are also encouraged to make arrangements in advance by writing,
phoning, faxing, or e-mailing the Department.
Permission to make copies
is granted on a case by case basis, depending on the condition of the particular
item, and most copying will be done by the Special Collections staff. The price
for copies is the same as it is in the rest of the library. Certain collections
require the patron to fill out a separate "Copying Request" form, and
have their own pricing schedule. The Special Collections staff will inform patrons
about these and any specific requirements or restrictions for the use of any of
The Special Collections Department may be reached by the