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Donating Your Records

History is written from the perspective of those who preserve their records.  Therefore, LGBTQ-RAN strongly encourages all leaders and organizations in LGBTQ+ religious movements to take steps to preserve their records and papers in an appropriate repository.  

To get started on how to preserve your records or papers, take some time to read this Guide to Preserving Historical Records prepared by LGBTQ-RAN.  This comprehensive document will answer most of your questions.  

These shorter documents from the Society of American Archivists can also be helpful:

Finding a Repository

LGBTQ personal papers and organizational records have been donated to a variety of archives—LGBTQ archives, religious archives, academic archives, and local and state historical societies.   Almost all repositories now welcome LGBTQ materials, accepting those that fit their collecting guidelines.  

Some key considerations in selecting a repository are the donor’s location, archives holding related collections, and the archives’ ability to enhance the collection’s visibility and access.  You can read more about finding a repository in Part Two of LGBTQ-RAN’s Guide to Preserving Historical Records.

Access to Your Archival Records

Some LGBTQ+ religious organizations have been concerned about personal privacy and confidentiality of information in their records. In particular, groups may have copies of communications with persons who were closeted or for whom the risk of public identification as LGBTQ would be risky.  Keep in mind the professionalism of archivists and scholar-researchers who understand and respect these matters of privacy and confidentiality.  However, it might be appropriate to restrict access to some of your records either for a period of time or by requiring a special approval process.   LGBTQ-RAN provides detailed information about these matters in these Guidelines on Restricted Access to Archival Records.  

Contact us with any questions or assistance needed regarding donating your personal papers or organizational records at archivist@lgbtqreligiousarchives.org.