FAQ on donating materials to the Kennedy Library
Q: WHAT KINDS OF MATERIALS DO YOU ACCEPT?
A: The Kennedy Library accepts collections of unique and original primary-source materials that document the life, career, time period, and legacy of John F. Kennedy. Our primary interest is in original documents, manuscripts, photographic images, sound recordings, and moving images created or maintained by John F. Kennedy, members of his administration, his immediate family, and close associates. Please note that we do not acquire very small donations (e.g., single photographs or several documents) unless they are truly unique or of singular historical value.
The Library is also home to the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCV) Collection and accepts the personal papers of RPCVs who served during the Kennedy Administration years (1961-1963) as well as audio-recorded oral histories of RPCVs (1961-present). For details, please see our RPCV collection development policy.
For inquiries regarding the Ernest Hemingway Collection, please refer to the Hemingway collection development policy.
Q: WHAT DON'T YOU ACCEPT?
A: We generally do not accept the following categories of materials:
- periodicals: newspapers, journals, and magazines (including magazine special editions);
- books (including commemorative books) and personal libraries;
- tributes, poems, songs, or other personal reminiscences of President Kennedy or his family;
- mass-produced materials such as inauguration invitations and campaign pamphlets and buttons;
- photocopies or digital facsimiles of original materials (including those from other archives);
- personal scrapbooks (including newsclipping scrapbooks);
- materials that are too fragile to service to researchers or require extensive conservation;
- materials that have mold, mildew, pest, or other potentially harmful infestations; or
- organic materials.
Q: HOW MUCH IS MY MATERIAL WORTH?
A: As a federal institution the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library cannot purchase materials, provide monetary appraisals, or recommend individual appraisers. Should you wish to have your materials appraised, you must do so prior to donating them to the Library. The following websites provide the names of certified appraisers throughout the country:
Q: DO I NEED TO SIGN ANYTHING? WHAT PAPERWORK DO YOU NEED FOR MY DONATION?
A: Depending upon the nature and size of the donation, we may ask you to complete a formal deed of gift or to provide a written statement confirming your intent to donate the materials free of restrictions. We do not accept materials for temporary loan or deposit; materials donated to the Kennedy Library become the physical property of the United States. Donors are strongly encouraged to transfer to the United States all copyrights they hold in the materials, making them Public Domain.
Q: HOW WILL I KNOW YOU RECEIVED MY DONATION?
A: All pre-approved donations will be acknowledged formally upon receipt, usually by letter. Please note that unsolicited donations will be acknowledged at the discretion of the Archives director.
Q: WILL MY DONATION BE EXHIBITED?
A: We cannot guarantee that donations will be placed on display and we are unable to accept donations requiring this stipulation.