n.a legal agreement transferring title to an archival resource without monetary recompense to the donorGersack 1963b, 418In accordance with Mrs. Roosevelt’s deed of gift to the Library, her papers are closed to research until they have been reviewed and classified.Kaiser 1969, 105Donors are willing to give materials for research and do not hesitate to sign deeds of gift that specify this use and allow them to retain literary rights as a protection against unauthorized use of their collections.Peterson 1979, 65While developing a deed of gift, it is useful to remember that it is a contract in which both parties promise certain things: the donor to give, the archives to respect the conditions stipulated by the donor in the deed.Becker 1993, 321Since the early 1970s, deeds of gift and other agreements with donors have been more formal and precise.Doylen 2001, 358Statements that . . . allow for deaccessioning should be included in the deed of gift. As [Gerald] Ham notes, “donor agreements cannot become the dead hand of the past; they must contain some option for reappraisal and deaccessioning.”Hodson 2004, 197Donors often exhibit extraordinary concern about matters of privacy, perhaps in an eagerness to perpetuate or sanitize the good reputation of the creator of the papers. The archivist or curator more typically favors opening the collection and making it freely available to researchers. Once the parties agree on terms of any closure of part or all of a collection, such terms should be written into a deed of gift that is signed by the donor and by a representative of the repository, as a protection for both the donor and the repository.Behrnd-Klodt 2008, 54The deed of gift becomes a binding legal agreement when signed by the donor (or an authorized representative of the donor) and an authorized representative of the archives or its parent institution.Jackson and Thompson 2010, 676To dispose of a collection, a repository first must establish legal ownership of the material. A deed of gift makes deaccessioning and disposal much easier. Ideally, the deed of gift transfers ownership unconditionally to the repository. Alternatively, the deed of gift may specify whether unwanted items are to be destroyed, transferred, or returned. However, many repositories (including the AHC [American Heritage Center]) acquired material without a deed of gift, making it difficult to manage legacy collections.SAA 2013cThe deed of gift is a formal and legal agreement between the donor and the repository that transfers ownership of and legal rights to the donated materials. . . . The signed deed of gift establishes and governs the legal relationship between donor and repository and the legal status of the materials.Baldock 2015, 23After going through various drafts, a deed of gift was signed in 2007 that outlined that materials that were restricted and those that were open to the public, citing specific New York state laws regarding confidentiality.Vavra 2018, 105The requirements of deeds of gift and various statutes have long required restrictions on access and have honed archivists’ skills in weighing the requirements of privacy and access.Leventhal et al. 2021, 330Another important step is to discuss intellectual property (IP) with the designer before acquisition. This can be addressed in the deed of gift.
Deeds of gift take the form of a contract establishing conditions governing the transfer of title to archival resources and specifying any restrictions on access and use. Deeds of gift may also apply to intellectual property.