The Special Collections and Archives is committed to preserving and making available research collections of primary resources that supports the Clemson University teaching and research needs. The collections are accessible to the university and the general public. The collections will be made available in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Special Collections and Archives and the Clemson University Libraries. In accordance with the standard professional policy on access adopted jointly by the Society of American Archivists and the American Library Association, the Special Collections and Archives is committed to making research material available to users on equal terms of access. The Special Collections and Archives is committed to providing open and equitable access to its collections in accordance with legal requirements, privacy considerations, donor agreements, and institutional policies.

Unprocessed collection should be presumed open to researchers. Exceptions may be made for collections with legal and donor-imposed restrictions or preservation issues. In instances that unprocessed collections may contain sensitive and/or confidential information, those collections will be restricted until processed. However, it is possible to get special permission to access those unprocessed collections, on a case-by-case basis, as decided by the Head of Special Collections and Archives.


General Rules

  • Researchers must register/check in and show a picture ID each time they conduct research in the Archives Reading Room.
  • No food, drink, or tobacco use is allowed in the Archives Reading Room
  • Researchers and visitors must sign the register each day when entering and leaving.
  • All coats, handbags, briefcases, backpacks, purses, etc. are to be placed in the designated coat room.
  • Researchers may take research related tools (notepaper, computer) to a table in the research area. These items may be checked by the staff before the researcher leaves.
  • All materials should be returned to the Reference Desk no later than 15 minutes before closing and no further items will be paged after that time.

Handling materials

  • Special Collections & Archives materials may only be consulted in the Archives Reading Room.
  • Materials must be handled with care to avoid damage.
  • White gloves may be necessary when handling certain materials, such as photographs or other delicate materials.
  • Do not force books open, place open books face down, or place objects on top of them.
  • Only pencils may be used. Ink pens of any type are prohibited.
  • Do not lean upon, mark, fold, trace, or otherwise handle items in a way that may cause damage.


  • Manuscript materials are stored in a specific order. This arrangement of papers and folders must be preserved.  Do not remove materials from the folder without permission.
  • Duplication is allowed by permission only, on an item-by-item basis.
  • Items to be copied or scanned should be left in the folder with a marker identifying the location.


All users must complete a Duplication Request form before copies of materials can be made.  Permission to copy does not constitute permission to publish.

Each item to be duplicated must be evaluated by Special Collections staff based on:

  • Physical condition and size:  many items, especially rare books, maps or large architectural drawings, are too large and/or fragile to photocopy without endangering the originals.
  • Copyright issues:  if the item is a published document, copyright restrictions may apply. If the item is unpublished, copyright may rest with the author or his/her heirs.
  • Restrictions set by donors: some manuscript collections have restrictions against photocopying.


All requests for photographing material with a camera or  mobile devices must be made in person to the Special Collections staff.

Flash photography is not permitted.

Request to Publish

All requests to publish, exhibit, or redistribute (hereafter “publish” or “publication”) materials reproduced from Special Collections and Archives must be submitted in writing to the Head of the Special Collections and Archives in advance of publication.

The Archives reserves the right to extend or withhold permission to publish reproductions of its physical or intellectual property when copyright for the selected images has been retained by Clemson University. When copyright is not retained by Clemson University, Special Collections and Archives staff will refer users requesting permissions for publication to potential image copyright owners whenever possible. The owner of the copyright may charge fees in addition to those charged by Special Collections and Archives.

In addition, it is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission to publish from the owner of the copyright (the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her heirs, transferees, legatees, or executors).