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From the late 1920s, when our founder rumbled through the South in his Model A Ford, to the present, most of our acquisitions have been gifts. Thousands of individuals and organizations have generously donated materials in the spirit of contributing to the effort to deepen and broaden the original and unique documentation that is available to researchers in the Southern Historical Collection. We encourage you to consider that you may have or know of appropriate materials and to contact us to discuss the possibility of a donation. You will be rewarded not only by the thanks of many at UNC-Chapel Hill, but also by the satisfaction of participating in the effort to understand human experience through the centuries and the light it shines on our present and future.

We collect unique materials relating to the American South in all written, audio, visual, and electronic formats in the following subject areas:

  • family, personal, and business documentation dating from before 1900, especially relating to plantation culture and the Civil War;
  • 20th-century family materials, especially when a family is extensively and/or intimately documented;
  • materials reflecting social change: ethnic, racial, gender, political, demographic;
  • literary materials, especially relating to authors with North Carolina, and particularly UNC-Chapel Hill, associations;
  • African American materials;
  • materials relating to journalism;
  • Jewish materials;
  • materials reflecting contacts between the South and the rest of the world;
  • materials relating to Chapel Hill and/or Orange County;
  • materials relating to collections we already hold.

We would welcome the opportunity to talk with you about donating your materials. Meanwhile, we would encourage you to review our Collection Development Policy, which contains information about our current collecting activities, as well as descriptions of many of our subject strengths. Also, many of your questions about donating materials to an archival repository may be answered in one of these online brochures (available from the Society of American Archivists' website):

You may wish to review a sample gift agreement or consult the list of regional appraisers.

You may also be interested in providing financial support for the SHC.