The NDSU Archives actively seeks additions to its collections and relies on material and financial donations from the community to fulfill its mission. Please click any of the headings below to read more about how to donate to the NDSU Archives.

If you have any questions, please contact the NDSU Archives at or 701-231-8914.

For information and instructions about transferring University records, please visit our University Archives page.

What to Donate

The NDSU Archives works closely with donors to identify those materials of research interest that should be preserved. Although not all papers, photographs, and records fall within our collecting scope, the types of materials listed below are often valuable. These lists are suggestive but not definitive.

  • Personal and Family Papers
    The personal papers of individuals and families are essential documents in telling the story of our past. This means not just the papers of the well-known or prominent, but also the farmer, laborer, and housewife. Types of desired documents include letters, diaries, speeches/lectures, albums, scrapbooks, memoirs/reminiscences, photographs, professional files, and genealogical information.
  • Organization Records
    The records of our many and varied organizations are vital in documenting the social, religious, political and business involvement of North Dakotans. Types of desired documents include articles of incorporation, constitutions, bylaws, correspondence, planning documents, architecture records, legal documents, minutes of meetings, reports, memoranda, newsletters, directories, press releases, membership records, and research and subject files.
  • Photographs
    Photographs and the artistic work of photographers add a new dimension to the historical record and have become an important historical resource in their own right. Types of desired images include visual images of social life, farming, town scenes including buildings, people and activities, people at work, postcards, original negatives and family albums.
  • Publications
    The NDSU Archives attempts to collect all historical publications concerning North Dakota. Types of desired publications include county, community, church, and business histories, family histories and genealogies, works of fiction and poetry by North Dakota authors and native North Dakotans, county atlases, business gazetteers, music recordings, and magazines and organization newsletters.

Because the research value of papers and records may be diminished if items are removed or rearranged, donors are encouraged to contact the NDSU Archives staff before discarding or rearranging materials.

Collecting Exclusions and Processing Information

It is not possible for the NDSU Archives to accept all materials that are offered. This may be due to duplication, condition, format, or subject areas in which we do not collect. Among the materials not accepted:

  • Non-North Dakota publications and photographs.
  • Newspaper issues, if the NDSU Archives already has them on already on microfilm.
  • Items in poor physical condition.
  • Artifacts are on a case by case basis.

Transfer of Materials

After working with donors to identify materials appropriate for preservation, staff will make arrangements to have the papers or records transported to the NDSU Archives. Legal transfer of the materials from the donor to the NDSU Archives occurs when the donor reviews and signs a Deed of Gift that formally makes the gift property of NDSU Archives. The NDSU Archives generally does not accept materials on deposit or on loan.


Copyright generally belongs to the creator and can be legally transferred. To allow researchers ready access to material and to be able to quote readily in publications, we encourage donors to transfer any copyright which they possess in the donated papers to the NDSU Archives. Please consult your attorney regarding copyright issues.


In certain circumstances, it may be possible for a donor to take a tax deduction for the donation of a collection to the NDSU Archives. Donors are encouraged to speak with their attorney about this matter. By law, NDSU Archives staff cannot give tax advice or appraise the monetary value of a collection. Please consult an appraiser for assistance. It is the donor's responsibility to arrange for and bear the cost of any appraisal.


Sensitive material may, at times, be found within collections. The NDSU Archives staff will discuss with a donor the possibility of restricting parts of a collection to protect the privacy of the donor or of others. Although we want to make all papers and records freely accessible to researchers, the NDSU Archives will normally agree to reasonable and equitable restrictions for a limited period of time.

Monetary Donations and Endowments

Monetary Gifts

The NDSU Archives encourages its patrons and friends to consider making a financial donation. Financial gifts play a crucial role in supporting the NDSU Archives and its collections. We invite you to become a partner with the Archives in helping preserving, protecting, and promoting North Dakota and NDSU history. All financial donations are greatly appreciated and can be made by clicking the button below:

Donate to the Archives
Clicking the button above will take you to the NDSU Foundation online donation form. Select “University Archives” to designate your gift for the NDSU Archives.


An endowment is an asset donated to and for the perpetual benefit of a non-profit institution, in this case, the NDSU Archives. The principal donated amount remains intact and a spendable portion of money earned from investing the principal is allocated to benefit the projects and mission of the NDSU Archives in perpetuity. If you are interested in starting a discussion about giving at this level to create an endowment, please contact NDSU Archives at or 701-231-8914. 

Other Ways to Give
Our partnership with the NDSU Foundation allows you to give in many different ways. To explore these options, please visit the Foundation’s How to Give page.