Donating Collections to GHS

You can play a role in preserving Georgia history!

Why Preserve Your Papers?


Mr. and Mrs. J.R. Anderson,
VM 846, Wayne-Stites-Anderson collection

Your personal story is also part of our state’s and nation’s history. It is woven into the fabric of the past. Your actions and accomplishments have shaped the present and the future. Those who come after us will live with the decisions we make today. Why not help them to understand those decisions by leaving behind the primary sources – your papers – that will shed light on how their world was created?

It is crucial for you to preserve your personal and professional papers and business records. These documents and records will form the foundation for all future research on our state and nation. They are the primary building blocks that historians will use to tell those who come after us what happened in the past and why it is important. Without these primary sources, it will be impossible to reconstruct the story of the past.

Why GHS?

Since 1839, The Georgia Historical Society has been responsible for collecting and creating access to the documentary legacy of Georgians who have shaped the course of our state and nation. GHS is the independent statewide institution responsible for collecting and teaching Georgia history. One of the most significant ways we do that is by operating a Research Center.

At GHS, your papers will be cared for by highly-trained professional archivists in the South’s oldest continuously operated historical institution and utilized by teachers, students, and historians, ensuring your remarkable story will continue to inform and inspire future generations.

For nearly 180 years, Georgians have entrusted GHS with their documentary legacy. The top reason? Our commitment to making history accessible. Collections should be processed and made available for research in a reasonable time. And they should be available to as wide an audience as possible. Unlike special collections libraries at universities and colleges, which were created to serve their students and faculty first, GHS was founded to serve all the people of Georgia – teachers and students from every school in the state; scholars and authors; genealogists and historic preservationists; journalists and law makers; business and civic leaders. They are our primary constituency.

The Ray C. Anderson Foundation is committed to advancing the legacy of our namesake. While that means championing Ray’s environmental sustainability values, it also means preserving his letters, books, and other papers to be a source of inspiration to environmental and business leaders for years to come. We simply could not have done that without the Georgia Historical Society.

John A. Lanier – Executive Director, Ray C. Anderson Foundation

What Kind of Material is GHS Seeking?

GHS is actively seeking primary sources that pertain to Georgia and/or Georgians and its/their role in the history of the United States. These materials should build on current strengths in our collection as well as enhance underrepresented time periods, events, regions, and people.

What Does GHS Mean by “Papers”?

Generally speaking, papers are primary sources that document your life. As such they include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Personal and professional letters
  • Cards, emails, and other types of correspondence
  • Family papers, letters, and Bibles
  • Genealogical records
  • Photographs and scrapbooks
  • Postcards
  • Speeches and lectures
  • Unpublished writings
  • Artifacts and portraits
  • Business and organizational records
  • Journals and diaries
  • Rare and/or first edition books and pamphlets
  • Prints
  • Maps and architectural drawings
  • Research materials
  • Newspaper clippings
  • Digital records, audio and video tapes

What Will GHS Do with My Papers?

After they are donated, your papers will be arranged and described according to national archival standards and made accessible to researchers. Collection descriptions are widely available to researchers on the Internet in national databases, as well as GHS’s own online catalogs. Donated materials are housed in GHS’s secure, climate-controlled Edmund Abrahams archival annex and retrieved upon researcher request for viewing in the adjacent research library located in Hodgson Hall.

Remember, future generations will benefit directly from the preservation of your documentary legacy. No institution in Georgia has been responsible for doing this longer than the Georgia Historical Society. It’s why we were founded and why we remain a vital part of this state!

I believe that through written records, the people of Georgia have the opportunity to better understand the truth, as well as the history, of our state’s various peoples, communities, businesses, and groups, as well as the history of certain events. I donated my papers to the Georgia Historical Society because I want to ensure that the history of my people, especially those who are of African descent, as expressed in some of the writings I’ve maintained during my life, have a place in the collective written memory of this state.

Former Georgia Supreme Court Justice Leah Ward Sears

Are You Ready to Donate?

Before donating historical materials, please contact the Georgia Historical Society. Our staff will discuss with you our donation options, procedures, and collection development focus.

Deed of Gift: please review this form if you are interested in donating historical material by transferring ownership of your collection to the Georgia Historical Society.

Memorandum of Deposit: please review this form if you are interested in storing your collection with the Georgia Historical Society while retaining ownership. The current annual storage rate for deposit collections is $40.00 per cubic foot.

To speak with Georgia Historical Society staff regarding your materials, please call 912-651-2128 or send an e-mail to