University of Georgia Libraries, Special Collections  


1. Introduction

a. Mission Statement

The University of Georgia Libraries acquired the Richard B. Russell Memorial Library in 1973 through the combined efforts of the Richard B. Russell Foundation, Inc., the Georgia General Assembly, and the University System of Georgia. Dedicated in 1974, the Russell Library housed the late Senator Russell's papers and those of Georgia congressional representatives contemporary to the senator and his career. In 1982, the Library's collection policy formally acknowledged the acquisition of the papers of twentieth-century and future Georgia politicians, elected officials, federal appointees, and political parties and groups. Holdings support research and study of politics and policy in Georgia and the nation. In December 1994, the library became the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies. In January 2013, the library assumed responsibility for the administration and management of the Georgia Capitol Museum.

A department within the University of Georgia Libraries, the Russell Library is administratively under the University Librarian and Associate Provost. The Russell Foundation continues to provide supplemental financial and advisory support to the Library. The University Librarian is a member of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, and the Russell Library Director makes an annual report to the Foundation.

b. Statement of Purpose

The Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies serves as a center for research and study of the modern American political system, with particular emphasis on the role of Georgia and that of the U. S. Congress. The Russell Library seeks to document fully the dynamic relationship of politics, policy, and culture—where public interest intersects with the three branches of government at the local, state, regional, national, and international levels—through the papers, archival records, and material culture of individuals and organizations. The Russell Library is also dedicated to developing and presenting public programming and educational materials that facilitate and encourage research, raise public awareness of the Library and its collections and services, and provide learning opportunities for the communities it serves. The Russell Library pursues alliances and opportunities for collaboration with individuals and organizations that advance its mission. The Russell Library is a founding member of the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress and is a primary partner and official repository for the Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies, a collaborative project dedicated to documenting and chronicling the experiences and perspectives of lesser known participants in the civil rights movement in Georgia.

The Russell Library covers the history and politics of Georgia and the United States from 1900 through the present day with emphasis on Georgia elected and appointed officials, political parties, and political activists; civic, lobbying, and policymaking organizations; observers (journalists, scholars, and editorial cartoonists). The Russell Library also covers the history and politics of Georgia through documentation of relevant issues and events. Initiatives include the Georgia Disability History Archive; diplomatic and international affairs, with emphasis on the global economy as it intersects with Georgia business; and the changing demographics and ethnicity in Georgia communities.

As a major research center on Georgia political and policymaking history, the Russell Library will exhaustively and aggressively collect materials and oral histories that pertain to the political history and public policy development of Georgia, as specified in 2. Collecting Criteria, including material written by and about Georgia’s elected and appointed officials, civic and lobbying organizations, political activists and observers, and relevant issues.

The Russell Library will also actively seek materials relevant to areas where it seeks to expand its holdings such as material relating to ethnicity, gender, and religious trends and issues, national security, as well as materials relating to Republican political activity and third party political activities.

For documentation of congressional collections, the Russell Library follows guidelines recommended in The Documentation of Congress: Report of the Congressional Archivists Roundtable Taskforce on Congressional Documentation (Washington S. Pub. 102-20, 1992).


2. Collecting Criteria

a. Basis for Collecting

  • Present Collecting Strengths: The Russell Library is strongest in twentieth-century Georgia politics and policymaking as well as public infrastructure development, land use and environmental issues, social relations issues and trends (ethnicity, gender, class), economic development issues, civil and human rights, national defense, Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, and international relations and foreign policy.

  • Present identified Limitations: The Russell Library research needs include further development of subject material relating to ethnicity, gender, and religious trends and issues on a state, national, and international level and topics related to national security. The Russell Library research needs also include expanded documentation of political party trends in Georgia and the U. S., and specifically Republican political activity and growth of third parties.

  • Geographical areas Collected: Georgia, although collections of Georgians involved nationally and internationally includes materials related to other areas. Recent acquisition of the Atlanta Consular Corps Records will open other geographical areas for collecting. Already, Latin America is prominent in diplomatic and scholarly collection holdings.

  • Chronological periods Collected: Late Nineteenth, Twentieth, and Twenty-first century.

  • Subject areas Collected: The Russell Library collects in all subject areas, as specified in this policy, with particular emphasis to political history and public policy development.

b. Types of Materials

In addition to manuscripts, the Russell Library accepts photographs, audio-visual materials including oral history, books, maps, pamphlets, microform, federal and state government documents, electronic records, and selected artifacts.

c. Collecting Areas

  • Politics of Politics
    Recruitment, campaigning, voting, and elections in Georgia and by Georgians.

  • Politics of Peace and War
    Georgia’s participation in international affairs, diplomacy, defense, and military engagement.

  • Politics of Social Relations
    Policy, activism, and engagement around human and civil rights movements on local, national, and global levels; includes an initiative to document Georgia Disability History.

  • Politics of Public Good
    Issues connected to religion, health, civil liberties, security, and civil defense.

  • Politics of Environment
    Environmental policies, activism, and regulation in Georgia, the United States, and the world.

  • Politics of Economy
    Policy, activism and practice related to business, trade, labor, consumers, taxes, wealth and poverty on local, national, and global levels.


3. Procedures

a. Collecting Methods

The Russell Library does not accept materials without a legal transfer of title, deed of gift, or other official acknowledgment, unless the donor provides a letter of intent or there is good faith that the donor will follow through with donation.

Materials loaned to or deposited with the Russell Library are accepted when the conditions for acceptance are favorable to the UGA Libraries.

b. Exclusions

The Russell Library will not generally accept the following:

  • Materials that reflect the political history of another region or state or partial manuscripts, unless those materials are created by a Georgian or significantly relate to subject strengths in the collections.
  • Archival collections when major portions have already been deposited in another repository.
  • Manuscript collections that are closed for perpetuity.
  • Collections that are primarily composed of reproductions of archival materials in any form, such as photocopies or scans.

c. Deaccessioning/Weeding

Duplicates and materials that do not reflect the collecting areas of the Russell Library may be deaccessioned, subject to the terms of acquisitions, the notification of the donor or his/her heirs or its successor, and state and federal laws, and offered to other more appropriate institutions or the donor or donor's family.

d. Cooperative Agreements

The Russell Library recognizes that other institutions collect in the same or overlapping areas, and will seek similar unique resources for their own collections. The Russell Library also recognizes that other institutions may have prior claim on such materials or be a more appropriate repository to house them. In cases where legitimate collecting interests of the Russell Library and another repository directly conflict, the Russell Library will use the best interest of the scholarly community as a criterion in pursuing a resolution.


4. Additional Resources

a. Programs Supported by the Collections

b. Clientele Served by the Collections


5. Policy History

This collecting policy is designed to meet the goals of the UGA Libraries and the Russell Library. In order to determine the effectiveness of the collecting policy, the staff will review the acquisitions, user records, and deaccessions occurring under these Policies to detect any needed changes. Every five years the policy should be re-evaluated and changed as needed to meet the continuing goals of the UGA Libraries and the Russell Library.

Revision dates:

  • July 1993
  • April 1994
  • March 1996
  • June 2004
  • August 2015
  • January 2016