Collection Development Policy and Procedures


The Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives serves as a repository for unpublished organizational records and personal papers that document the history of Northern Michigan University and the central Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Through its collections and services, the Archives supports the mission of Academic Information Services and the university's instruction, scholarship, and community educational outreach activities.


1. Appraise, collect, organize, describe, make available, and preserve primary and secondary resource materials emphasizing the documentation of the central Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Northern Michigan University history.

2. Provide adequate facilities for the retention and preservation of such records.

3. Serve as a resource and laboratory to stimulate and nourish creative teaching and learning through the use of primary research materials and provide instruction in the use of those materials.

4. Serve research and scholarship by making available and encouraging the use of its collections by members of the university and the public at large.

5. Disseminate research and information concerning the documentary heritage of the university and central Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

6. Implement records management by formulating policy and procedures that will ensure the collection and preservation of university archival materials.


The Archives’ collecting area is comprised of the six counties that make up the region known as the central Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  These counties are Alger, Delta, Dickinson, Marquette, Menominee, and Schoolcraft.


A fundamental goal of the Archives is to acquire strong primary source collections that document regional life and development of the central Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Northern Michigan University.  These collections should address the historical research needs of the general public, students, and scholars.  These collections should also contribute to and enhance the educational mission of Northern Michigan University. In order to maximize the Archives’ limited resources, collection activities will focus on the following subjects.

    1.      The History of Northern Michigan University

In accordance with the Board of Trustees Statement on Records Management (1991) and the University’s Policy on Archives and Records Management, the Archives serves as a repository to ensure the preservation of the accumulated inactive and/or non-current records of the University and papers of its faculty, staff, students, alumni and others which have continuing value. Thus, the Archives is the corporate memory of the University.

    2.      The History of the Iron Mining Industry

Iron mining represents a fundamental human activity that has defined the historical development of the central Upper Peninsula.  Consequently, the Archives seeks to collect primary source material created by individuals, organizations, and businesses that document the history of iron mining on the Marquette and Menominee iron ranges.  The Cleveland – Cliffs Iron Mining Company records represent the core collection in this subject area. 

    3.      The History of Politics and Government

The Archives seeks to collect primary source material created individuals, civic and political organizations, and government that document the history of politics and government in the central Upper Peninsula.  The Dominic Jacobetti papers represent the core collection in this subject area.  The Archives is also a local government records depositoryfor the state of Michigan.

    4.      The History of Organized Labor and Labor Activism

The Archives seeks to collect primary source material created by individuals and labor organizations that document the history of labor, labor organizations, unions, and labor activism in the central Upper Peninsula.  The Archives maintains the Labor Archives of the Central Upper Peninsula.

    5.      The History of Environmental Conservation and Preservation

The tension between resource extraction and environmental preservation became an important component of the history of the central Upper Peninsula beginning in the latter half of the twentieth century and continuing into the twenty-first century.  The Archives seeks to document this historical development through the collection of primary source material created by individuals, organizations, businesses, and government that document the history of environmental conservation and preservation.  The Citizens to Save Superior Shorelines records represent a core collection in this subject area. 


    6.      The History of Religion and Religious Organizations

Immigration to the central Upper Peninsula from northern, central, and southern Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century had a significant impact on the social, cultural, and political development of the central Upper Peninsula.  Immigrants brought with them their religious ideals and institutions, making this activity a significant component of the region’s historical development.  Consequently, the Archives seeks to collect primary source material that documents religious institutions and organizations.  The Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan records represent a core collection in this subject area. 

    7.        The History of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Community

The Archives seeks to collect the personal papers and organizational records that document the history of the LGBTQ Community in the central Upper Peninsula. Exposure to the LGBTQ community, its activities, issues, and members, has improved since the mid-late twentieth century continuing into the twenty-first century. The community has had a lasting and significant social, political, and cultural impact on national as well as local development. LGBTQ members and organizations participate in all aspects of central Upper Peninsula life, including, but not limited to, education, religion, politics, and community engagement.


 1.      The archivist has the primary responsibility for Archives collection development.

 2.      The archivist encourages involvement of NMU administration, Olson Library faculty and staff, History Department faculty, NMU community, regional community, and archives patrons in collection development efforts.

 3.      Archives materials are normally acquired in the following manner:

A. Donation - Donation of materials is both an active process of soliciting for particular materials and a passive process of accepting materials which are brought into the Archives. The Archives both encourages donation of materials which are brought into the Archives and actively solicits for particular materials. It is Archives policy to encourage donation of materials which are in keeping with the subject scope of the Archives collection. Gifts of materials with mixed historical values may be accepted if the Archivist has the right to discard or otherwise remove unwanted items.  The Archivist reserves the right to decline donations which carry stringent donor restrictions. The Archivist will determine that the donor has, in fact, the right to make the donation, and that the donation is not encumbered by ethical and legal problems. All donations must be represented on a legal donor form which includes a description of the materials; name, address, and signature of donor; date of donation; description of any restrictions attached with the donation, and signature of Archives representative accepting the donation. Please select these links for more information on donating organizational records or personal papers.

B. Transfer of Custody - Custodial transfer is the means by which most university records are acquired by the Archives. Custodial transfer applies only to public records in which legal custody has transferred from one office to another.  Select this link for information on records transfer procedures for official University records to the University Records Center.

C. Deposit - Materials on deposit in the Archives must be covered in a contractual agreement between the university or archives and the depositing agency. Collections may be deposited in the Archives if a contractual deposit agreement has been established and approved by the Archivist and dean of Academic Information Services. Any such collections must be useful to the university and region within the Archives collection scope.


The Archives will provide complete and universal access to all historical manuscript collections and University records.   Exceptions will be made for historical manuscript material identified as closed to public access as stipulated in the donor agreement.  Similarly, exceptions will be made for official University records closed to public access as stipulated by law, University policy, or the appropriate records retention and disposition schedule.   Given that official University records are public records, however, access may be granted following submission of a Freedom of Information Act Request.  Such a request can be made at the Office of the Vice President for Finance and Planning. 


The Archives seeks to work cooperatively with all private and public organizations engaged in the identification, acquisition, and preservative of historical primary sources.  The Archives will refer donors or potential donors with collections that do not fit within the guidelines of this collection policy to a more appropriate repository.  Exceptions will be made for collections of significant historical value that cannot be accepted or maintained adequately by a more appropriate repository.  This decision will be made jointly by the archivist and a representative of the alternate repository. 


The final disposition of official University records without continuing value will conform to the established records retention and disposition schedules and the University’s policy on Archives and Records Management.

Recognizing that the Archives may face future resource and space limitations, The University Archivist will periodically review all acquisitions to determine whether or not they should remain within the Archives’ regional historical collections.  Should the Archivist determine that a particular collection warrants deaccessioning, the Archivist will make every effort to transfer custody and ownership to another repository, the donor, or the donor’s heirs prior to the collection’s destruction.