Donor Frequently Asked Questions

Donors may be entitled to take an income tax deduction by claiming their gift of rare or manuscript materials as a charitable donation. While Archives staff cannot serve as tax advisors, it is the Archives' understanding that to claim a deduction for non-cash gifts in excess of $500 within a calendar year, a donor must file IRS Form 8283. See Instructions for guidance. A formal appraisal, performed no more that sixty days before the date of the gift, is required if deductions are sought for any gift valued at over $5,000. Professional standards, University policy, and IRS regulations prohibit DUMCA staff from making such a monetary appraisal.

Your papers will be made available to researchers as soon as they are processed; or after a period of time specified by the donor (you).

Because of broad variations in personal papers, it is advisable to consult with the Archives to determine how your own files relate to these guidelines. This list is intended as a general guide and exceptions can be made only after a review of the conditions under which the documents were generated and their potential usefulness.

The Archives accepts donations regardless of format (e.g., published, typescript, audio-visual, and electronic data, such as computer disks and files). For documents in formats requiring any form of machine intervention, such as videotapes and all computer files, consideration should be given to converting the documents to a format accessible to the Archives' users. Early consultation with the Archives is strongly encouraged for all such materials.

Material should be transferred in the order in which they were maintained. A letter briefly identifying the material and describing the activity to which they relate should accompany the transfer.

Unfortunately, no. Documents that generally should not be donated without prior consultation with the archives include:

  1. Financial records, canceled checks, and receipts;
  2. Routine correspondence, especially non-personally addressed mail and routine letters of transmittal and acknowledgment;
  3. Duplicates and multiple copies of publications: keep only the original and heavily annotated copies;
  4. Typescripts, drafts, and galleys of publications and speeches unless the final publication or presentation is unavailable;
  5. Books, research papers, journal articles, and reprints written by other persons;
  6. Medical records of any sort.

Items likely to be of interest to the Archives include, but are not limited to:

  1. Biographical information: resumes, vitae, bibliographies, memoirs, and published and manuscript biographical sketches;
  2. Duke University Medical Center correspondence and files: outgoing and incoming correspondence, diaries, identified photographs, and scrapbooks that provide documentation of Medical Center experience relating to enrollment, attendance, involvement in student and alumni organizations and activities;
  3. Professional correspondence (outgoing and incoming) with business associates, colleagues, and professional organizations;
  4. Personal correspondence with other Duke University Medical Center alumni;
  5. Course material: class notebooks, student papers, exams, and correspondence relating to academic career at the Duke University Medical Center;
  6. Publications: one copy of all articles or books;
  7. Audio-visuals: identified photographs, films, and sound and video recordings;
  8. Family correspondence, diaries, identified photographs, and legal documents, except where there is family interest in retaining and preserving such materials;
  9. Organizational records and correspondence relating to membership and participation in professional and social associations, clubs and societies;
  10. Research notes and data. Because of wide variations in the nature of research data, it is best to consult with the Archive before donating research notes and data;
  11. Artifacts and memorabilia in cases of great importance and a manageable physical size and condition. Please consult with the Archives to discuss options for preservation of such objects.

The Duke University Medical Center Archives is looking to collect the personal papers documenting the educational and post-Medical Center careers of alumni. The archives preserves and makes these collections available to aid in research, instruction, and historical documentation projects. Alumni papers provide important insights into the history and evolution of the Medical Center, help document the medical educational experience, and can provide a basis for research in broader areas of American life and culture and scientific research.