Harold B. Lee Library. Dept. of Archives and Manuscripts

The J. Reuben Clark Jr. Library Archives department and the non-University Archives/Manuscripts department were formally united administratively in 1974 after the Library's name was changed to the Harold B. Lee Library in 1973. The department was then known as the Harold B. Lee Library, Archives and Manuscripts Department.

University Archives was established in 1956 by Ralph Hansen, under the direction of Dr. S. Lyman Tyler. An active program for collecting non-University-related archives and manuscripts was established about 1960, sometime around the same time the library moved from the Grant Building and various locations, to the newly completed J. Reuben Clark Jr. Library in 1961.In February 1991 Special Collections merged with the Department of Archives and Manuscripts to form the Department of Special Collections and Manuscripts. Later, in 1999, Special Collections moved to the basement of the library and was named L. Tom Perry Special Collections.

Variant names

Harold B. Lee Library. Department of Archives and Manuscripts

Harold B. Lee Library. Archives and Manuscripts Department

Harold B. Lee Library. Division of Archives and Manuscripts


Established: 1974

Abolished: 1991

Location: Provo, Utah (1974-1991)


The Archives and Manuscripts Collection Development Policy Statement of 1985 declared the departments responsibility that "when an institution acquires unique sources through gift or purchase, it has a moral, professional, and usually contractual obligation to its donors and to society to share those resources....In preserving the legacy of such men and women, the Lee Library functions as a trustee for the creator, the donor, all potential users, and, indeed, for American society." "Meeting the instructional and research needs of the University" was the paramount but not the sole concern of the department. The Archive and Manuscript programs in 1985 were: The Brigham Young University Archives; Archives of Utah and the American West; The Archives of the Mormon Experience; The Arts and Communications Archives; Motion Picture Film and Videotape Archives; Wells Freedom Archives; The Literary Archives; The Photoarchives; The Archives of Recorded Sound; European Manuscripts; Ancient and Medieval Manuscripts; The Mesoamerican Archives; and The U.S. Political Archives.'

In 1988 Dennis Rowley stated that the "Department of Archives and Manuscripts at BYU consists of the Brigham Young University Archives (...institutional archives [which required the department to serve as a cautious guardian and keeper]) and the Manuscript Library (...general archives [requiring less caution and guardianship]."

In 1989 the Archives and Manuscripts statement of policy and procedures stated its mission to be: "to select, acquire, preserve, protect, evaluate, arrange, describe and make available for appropriate use a comprehensive body of primary source material in approved subject areas." the collection areas included all those stated in the above cited 1985 development policy statement excluding the U.S Political Archives, and outlined into three groups: Major Archives (University, Mormon Experience, Utah & the American West, Arts & Communications), Minor Archives (Literary, Wells Freedom, European Manuscripts, Mesoamerican, Ancient & Medievil Manuscripts), and Physical Type (Photoarchives, Recorded sound, Film & Video.) Due to concern over previous theft and unauthorized copying by members and enemies of the Church, access policy and procedure was altered to protect documents. Patrons were required to complete an application form, with a statement of intention and photo ID, as well as an interview with a full time staff member. There were three levels of access to Archives and Manuscripts: Single Access (beginner level researchers given approval for the use of one item at a time, and needed separate approval for each new collection requested), Limited Access (More experienced patrons could use any unrestricted collection related to their topic without additional approval), and Open Access (Mature scholars from BYU's faculty or other institutions were given approval to use any unrestricted collection regardless as to whether it related to their topic or not.) Every patron's research was recorded on that patron's permanent registration and application form. Further information regarding Archives and Manuscripts contained in "Archives and Manuscripts in the Brigham Young University Library: A Statement of Policy and Procedures, April 1989."

Assets and Administrative Structure

In 1977 Dennis Rowley was Curator of Archives and Manuscripts which was a subunit of Rare Books and Special Collections (Chad J. Flake), under the Director of Libraries (Donald K. Nelson), under the Assistant Academic Vice-President Curriculum and Graduate School (Chauncey C. Riddle), under Sterling J. Albrecht. The first six weeks of 1977 was spent in moving from the first floor to the fifth.

In 1982 Archives and Manuscripts encompassed: the University Records Center, Union Pacific Micrographics Center, Photoarchives, Arts and Communication Archives, Archives of the Mormon Experience, Utah and the West Archives, Women's History Archives, Mesoamerican Archives, Literary Archives, archival cataloging and accessioning. Full-time staff consisted of: the curator, two University Archive people, University Archivist and an assistant, a Union Pacific Micrographics Center coordinator, a cataloging and accessioning professional, two Subject Archives professionals, and one departmental secretary/office manager. Part-time staff consisted of: 43 students to assist in multiple divisions of the Archives department.

In the 1980's a financial crisis hit private schools, resulting in a loss of support staff at the archives.

Associated Units

Superior unit: Brigham Young University (1903)

Superior unit: Harold B. Lee Library (1973)

Earlier unit: Harold B. Lee Library. University Archives (1973-1974)

Earlier unit: Harold B. Lee Library. Manuscripts Department (1973-1974)

Later unit: Harold B. Lee Library. Special Collections and Manuscripts (1991-1999)

Later unit: Harold B. Lee Library. L. Tom Perry Special Collections (1999)

Associated Archival Materials

Insert references to all associated materials here.


Archives and Archivist at Brigham Young University, Brigham Young University Campus Memorandum, from Dennis Rowley to Jeffrey R. Holland, 14 November 1988 (MSS 2207, box 8, file Archives.) Information Gathered: 1988 Archives and Manuscripts consisted of university and general archives.

Archives and Manuscripts in the Brigham Young University Library: A Statement of Policy and Procedures With Appendices, April 1989, pg. 1-5, (MSS 2207, box 8, folder: Archives), Information Gathered: 1989 Mission Statement, General Department Policies and Procedures, Technical Services Policy and Procedures, General Access Policies and Procedures.

Archives and Manuscripts Policies and Procedures Manual, January 1982, p. Introduction, Information Gathered: History of the Archives and Manuscripts department. Manuscripts/non-University Archives department formed separate from Archives department around 1960. Faculty and Staff in Archives.

Archives and Manuscripts Policy Statement, Brigham Young University Campus Memorandum, from Sterling Albrecht to Dennis Rowley, 22 Dec. 1988, (MSS 2207, box 8, folder: Archives), first page of 10 February 1982. Information Gathered: cases of theft and unauthorized copying by members and enemies of the Church.

Brigham Young University centennial history, 1875-1975, p. 142-144, Information Gathered: organized under Dr. Tyler and Ralph Hansen.

B.Y.U. Library Collection Development Policy Statement, 1985, pgs. 41-75, Information Gathered: statement of responsibility, objectives, areas of specialization and subjects contained in the Archives and Manuscripts.

Harold B. Lee Library, 1976-1977 Audit Report, pg. 3, 10, 22, Information Gathered: 1976-1977 organizational structure, move from first to fifth floor.

Library of Congress Authorities: Harold B. Lee Library Department of Archives and Manuscripts, www.authorities.loc.gov, LCCN 82117113, Information Gathered: in Feb. 1991 Special Collections merged with the Dept. of Archives and Manuscripts to form the Dept. of Special Collections and Manuscripts)

Ralph W. Hansen Papers: Interview Transcript, 25 June 2006, p. 15, Information Gathered: 1980s financial crisis of private schools forces cut back on support staff in archives.

Maintenance Information

Record ID: EAC-2012-00004

Creator: UPB

LCCN: 82117113