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Princeton University Policy on Access to University Records in Archives

Access Policy For University Archives Collections

The Princeton University Archives, housed at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, documents the history, growth, and development of the University. The University Archives contains the official administrative records of the University as well as related collections acquired from students, alumni, and other donors. 

The collections of the Princeton University Archives will be made available in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections and the Princeton University Library. In accordance with a February 7, 1972, Princeton University faculty resolution on library access and the standard professional policy on access adopted jointly by the Society of American Archivists and the American Library Association, the Princeton University Archives is committed to making research materials available to users on equal terms of access. 

University Archives collections are open to the public unless one of the following restrictions applies.

  • Institutional Records may be closed for a period of up to 40 years from the date of their creation as designated by the office of origin in consultation with the University Archivist. During the restriction period, the office of origin may view these materials, and other University offices may request permission in writing from the director of the office of origin if they require access for business purposes.

  • Student Academic Files are restricted during the lifetime of the student subject to the provisions of the Federal Family Education and Privacy Rights Acts (FERPA) of 1974. Student academic files include our collection of Undergraduate Academic Files (AC198) and Graduate Alumni Files (AC105). 

  • Records that contain FERPA-protected information such as a student’s credentials, grade sheets, correspondence, reports, notes, applications, and disciplinary files, when found in other University Archives collections are restricted for 75 years from the date of their creation. Directory information as defined by FERPA, (name; address; telephone number; email address; photograph; student identification number; dates of attendance; major field of study; participation in officially recognized activities, organizations, and athletic teams; weight and height of members of athletic teams; degrees and awards; academic institution attended immediately prior to Princeton University) may be released to the public unless the student or their family has requested that the school not disclose directory information about them. 

  • Faculty and Professional Staff Files, which are the official records transferred from the Office of the Dean of the Faculty, (AC107) are closed until 100 years after the person's year of birth or 5 years after the person's year of death, whichever is longer. 

  • Records related to faculty or staff personnel matters such as those pertaining to an appointment, employment, performance evaluation, payroll/salary information, disciplinary action, and similar personnel matters, when found in other University Archives collections are restricted for 75 years from the date of their creation. 

  • Records created by student organizations may be restricted at the discretion of the organization in consultation with the University Archivist for an approved limited period to protect personal information or privacy. The restriction will be recorded in the finding aid.

  • Records donated by individuals or organizations outside of the University (including alumni) may be restricted at the discretion of the donor in consultation with the University Archivist for an approved limited period to protect personal information or privacy. The restriction will be recorded in the finding aid.

The archives will promptly acknowledge receipt of complaints about materials made available on this website, and will remove or disable access to (take down) the contested materials from the website pending resolutions of the complaint. Email comments to mudd@princeton.edu.