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Gifts of Collection Materials

The Wittliff collects materials that contribute to an understanding and appreciation of the greater Southwest through its literature, drama, photography, film, music and other cultural arts. The resources in The Wittliff attest to the tremendous diversity of creative expression among Southwestern artists and contribute to a rich research environment where students and scholars may thrive.

Making a Gift

If you are interested in giving materials, called gifts-in-kind, to The Wittliff, please contact the appropriate curator:

  • Literature: Steve Davis (
  • Photography: Carla Ellard (
  • Music: Hector Saldaña (

What to Preserve:

Types of materials of greatest research interest are:

  •  Correspondence
  •  Journals/diaries
  •  Press clippings, reviews, or articles
  •  Subject/research files
  •  Manuscript drafts at all stages (notated drafts, copyedited proofs, etc.)
  •  Photographs (labeled – if possible, on back of photo in pencil)
  •  Films/videos/audio tapes (labeled)
  •  Electronic records/files
  •  Ephemera (playbills, programs, broadsides, invitations, etc.)
  •  Relevant artifacts

We do not typically accept donations of personal libraries and book collections unless the library is specifically oriented towards Southwestern culture. We can consider unique texts that have contributed directly to shaping the research or development of an author’s body of work.

What We Do Not Collect

Our institutional mission, space and staff constraints restrict us from accepting all materials. However, we welcome the opportunity to review potential donations and to make possible recommendations for more appropriate institutions.

We are generally unable to consider graphic artworks (paintings, drawings, prints, etc.) unless the artwork is created specifically by an author or artist we collect.

For privacy and security reasons, we do not collect materials such as personal or daily financial records that document social security information.

We are also unable to accept any pest or mold-infested items, which would compromise the safety of our existing collections.

Physical Transfer of Materials and Transfer of Ownership

If the curator accepts the materials, staff will negotiate for the safe transport of the material to our location. In cases where the donor is unable to make arrangements, staff may facilitate packing, or organize shipment via U.S. Mail or FedEx.

Wittliff staff will then draft and send you a gift receipt or Deed of Gift acknowledging your donation and the terms and conditions of your gift. The Deed of Gift establishes a relationship of common understanding and trust between donor and repository. The document governs the legal relationship between parties and transfers legal ownership between donor and repository, while also specifying ownership of copyright. Unless otherwise specified, control of copyright remains in the hands of the original creator.

In certain circumstances, it may be possible for a donor to take a tax deduction for a gift-in-kind donation. Donors should consult a financial advisor or attorney for tax-related information before donating materials and transferring title. Professional standards and IRS regulations prohibit Wittliff staff from making monetary appraisals of collections. For a list of qualified independent appraisers, consult the Appraisers Association of America or the American Society of Appraisers.

Care of Materials

When The Wittliff accepts any materials into its care, we take measures to ensure their long-term preservation and to make materials accessible to researchers and for public display in exhibitions. Collection materials are housed in closed stack areas under environmentally controlled conditions, protected by an electronic security system, and do not circulate outside The Wittliff’s reading room. Acid-free boxes, folders, and other containers are used to house materials and item-level conservation steps are taken when appropriate. Reading room regulations and close staff supervision promote the security and proper use of materials by researchers.


Access to donated materials is governed by our collections policy regarding availability, photoduplication, and publication while adhering to copyright protection for the original creator. Wittliff staff will make donated materials available to donors as necessary; donors may access their materials in person, or staff can provide photocopies or digital scans of original materials. Prospective donors should discuss any special needs or concerns with the appropriate curator and formalize any restrictions to access in the Deed of Gift.

Copyright Queries

Copyright generally belongs to the creator of a work, or his or her heirs, but may be legally transferred to the Wittliff if the copyright holder wishes. Staff will work with donors to develop an agreement regarding how queries for copyright-protected use will be handled.