Clare College Cambridge

Archive Collection Policy

The Clare College Archive Collection Policy is in place to help locate records and memorabilia that fill in gaps or replace damaged and delicate archival items. In particular, photographs of matriculation groups, individuals and sporting events as well as any records of College clubs and societies from the 1960s onwards would be welcome additions to the Archives. Please contact the Archivist if you have any items you would like to donate or to have copied for the Archives.

Archive Collection Policy


Clare College Archives is the record repository of Clare College, a college of the University of Cambridge, founded in 1326. The repository is a constituent of the Forbes Mellon Library, reporting to the Archive Sub-Committee. This collection policy is deliberately flexible to allow each potential accession to be judged on its own merits.

Mission statement

The purpose of the Archives is to collect, preserve and promote the documentary evidence for the history and life of the College. This includes records of its administration and finances, land and property ownership, College clubs and societies and individual members of the College. Many of these records date from the sixteenth century although the earliest period of the College is not well documented since a large proportion of the original muniments were destroyed in a fire in Old Court in 1521. Nevertheless, the Archives are a valuable resource for the history of the College up to the present day.

Scope of the collection

We collect official records of the College, papers of individuals connected with the College and also items which illustrate a cross-section of College life and which might not normally survive as part of the official record. The following types of material are accepted: paper and parchment archives; maps, plans, drawings, engravings and photographic prints; audio-visual and electronic records; College newsletters, magazines and other publications; posters, menu cards and, where appropriate, some artefacts. Copies and transcripts are only acquired where the originals are not available and the material is of sufficient importance to our collections.

Methods of acquisition 

Through good records management practices, institutional records are transferred to the College archive by arrangement with College departments when they are no longer in use. Only records judged to have an administrative, legal, financial or research value will be transferred for permanent retention and this is outlined in the College retention schedule that has been compiled by the archivist in conjunction with heads of department.

Records from external sources will be acquired by gift and deposit. Gifts are preferred because they ensure that an archive will be permanently preserved and available for research. We shall, in consultation with donors, evaluate and select only material that compliments the existing records held in the College archive or that fills in any gaps in the College’s historical memory. Duplicate or ephemeral material identified in the initial processing of an archive will be returned to the donor or destroyed in a secure manner, according to the donor's instructions.

Material will be accepted with guidelines on Data Protection and Freedom of Information in mind. Donors' wishes on the confidentiality and copyright status of material will be agreed in advance.

We aim to assist donors in finding the most appropriate home for their records and may redirect donors towards another archive repository if their records would be better suited there.

The Archives will not normally purchase any material, unless in exceptional circumstances.


All records received will be accessioned and receipted to the donor and notice of major new acquisitions will be made public at the earliest opportunity, usually via Janus, the online Cambridge archive catalogue, once they have been sorted, catalogued, and (where relevant) indexed.

We have an obligation to store, preserve and make accessible the archives in our custody in accordance with current professional standards.

Endorsed by the College Council November 2012

This policy is subject to review after five years.

Robert Athol, Edgar Bowring Archivist, November 2012