An archives is a place in which a body of important records is preserved. Traditionally, an archives is a physical place, but digital archives are becoming more common. Archival materials can include historical materials, inactive records, digital records, and digital surrogates of records made available as a curated online collection.
An archives is also the actions through which materials of continuing value are acquired, preserved, and maintained.
The person who facilitates the collection of materials and their preservation in a physical or digital space is called an archivist.
Access to the Archives is available upon research consultation and request with the Archivist on staff. Patrons cannot access the Archives space without the Archivist present. Donors and representatives from WIT administrative and academic offices may access their collection through contact with the Archivist on staff. Items are not to leave the Archives.
Physical access to Archival materials must be facilitated by contacting the Archivist.
The ultimate goal of the Archives is to digitize the collection so items may be more widely accessible. Digitization of items provides enhanced access to materials that might otherwise be unavailable for public use. Through the Douglas D. Schumann Library & Learning Commons' Digital Collections and other methods, users will have the ability to access digitized information both on site and remotely.
Priority will be given to Presidential records, chronologically earliest to oldest, beginning with founding documents through the present. Scans will be made text searchable when able.
Digitization of materials has begun.
Archival research requests can be submitted via email to the Archivist on staff. Depending on staff availability, research requests typically take 2-4 weeks to complete.Digitization Requests
Items in the Archives may be digitized upon request, if they are not already digitized. Scans of files will be delivered via email. Priority will be given to Presidential records, chronologically earliest to oldest, beginning with founding documents through the present. Depending on staff availability, digitization requests typically take 2-4 weeks to complete.
WIT Architectural Theses are digitized on the Digital Collections.
Please cite any records used from our collection as follows: Title or description of item, date (day, month, year), Collection number or identifier, series number (if applicable), box number, folder number, Collection Name, Name of Repository, Location of Repository. URL if applicable.
For example (Chicago Manual of Style citation):
Aircraft Engine Laboratory Expansion, 1932-1948, AC1, Box 1, Folder 2, Office of the Principal Records, Wentworth Institute of Technology University Archives, Boston, MA.https://digitalcollections.wit.edu/uncategorized/IO_d7e65c83-1833-45f4-b48f-b9e067f8de82.
Restrictions to items in the Archives are as follows:
Per the Archives Charter (1988), “During the restricted period, the records will be available only to the Curator of Special Collections, Institute Archivist, and office of origin. Consideration will be given by access to others when a written request is presented to the Institute Archivist for approval by the office of origin. The Provost will permit or deny access to records of offices that no longer exist.”
Donors, such as WIT alum, who donate personal materials related to WIT's history may choose to restrict access to their collections or certain parts of their collections for a number of years after donation. These items may only be access with express permission from the Donor.
Regardless of any other characteristic, unprocessed materials are restricted. Unprocessed records may be used only by the archivists and representatives of the creating or successor office. Unprocessed papers may be used only by the archivists and the donor. Exceptions can be made by the Archivist.
Please read about donations by clicking here on our Donation Page.
In June of 1982, the Library Director, Anne Montgomery Smith, became aware of the general lack of Institute history to commemorate the upcoming 75-year anniversary and centennial of the Institute. In the summer of 1985, with weekend librarian Mary Ellen Flaherty, Montgomery Smith (armed with an official note from the Institute's administration) began approaching retiring professors and administrative offices to gather their records for preservation. Flaherty went to department heads and collected their records. More materials were donated to the Archives by departments seeking to preserve their documents and history.
Officially, the Archives were established after this gathering phase in 1985. Flaherty would organize the collections while staffing the library. Following some of this processing work, an official Archives Charter was approved by the Board of Trustees in November of 1988. Flaherty continued to process and steward the collection until she retired from the Institute in 2005. Anne Montgomery Smith left Wentworth in 1995. Other library staff maintained and housed archival material after their departures.
In 2016, Pia Romano, a librarian, acted as the primary Archives’ caretaker. Romano focused greatly on departmental and student outreach. She collected a great number of Institute yearbooks, publications, programs, student work, and other community materials. In 2021, Ashley Bryan became the first full-time degreed archivist at the Institute. The Archives space was rearranged to accommodate student interns from Simmons University. The first formal, folder-level processing of the collections began. This was quickly followed by the digitization of materials onto Preservica, the Library’s digital collections. Processing and digitization continue today, making the collection and Institute history more accessible for the community.
To access our digital collection, please see the Finding Aids tab.
Download the Archives Charter below:
Douglas D. Schumann Library & Learning Commons
Wentworth Institute of Technology
550 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115