The Institute Archives and Special Collections serves Rensselaer students, faculty, staff, and alumni as well as other researchers interested in conducting research with the unique materials housed within the Institute Archives and Special Collections.

  • Please note that due to Rensselaer's Bicentennial celebration in 2024, we are prioritizing research to fulfill the needs of the Rensselaer Community. Due to increased demand, we cannot predict how long it will take to respond to non-RPI-affiliated researchers. 

Most of our collections must be retrieved from closed stacks or from offsite storage, therefore appointments must be made 24 in advance.

Access to the Archives

Please review our services below.

According to time limits, Archives staff will:

  • Identify relevant collections, or portions of collections, for reading room use or digitization
  • Assist researchers in finding rare books, manuscripts, and archives that relate to your research topic.
  • Assist with digital resources managed by the Institute Archives.
  • Build skills to interpret rare books and primary sources.
  • Educate researchers on how to use and cite rare books and primary sources.

Services we do not provide:

  • Research in the Institute Archives for patrons.
  • Research elsewhere such as other repositories or online for patrons.
  • Research beyond the scope of the Archives’ collections. Members of the Rensselaer community can contact Rensselaer Libraries staff for general research help.
  • The Archives does not offer self-service printing and photocopying. 

The Archives welcomes groups to visit the Archives with at least two weeks prior notice. The Archives especially welcomes Rensselaer class visits and are pleased to support instruction in research methods using primary source materials.

Planning Your Visit 

Class Visit and Instruction

The Archives maintains an active digitization program. Depending on considerations of restriction, format, condition, and extent of the request, the Archives may provide digital surrogates of certain materials. Advance notice is required and estimates for digitization time will be provided when a request is initiated. Digitization requests are typically processed within 1 month, depending on the extent of the request, and may take longer. Please contact us to initiate a digitization request.

The Institute Archives and Special Collections provides duplication services of most materials in our collections. All duplication requests are subject to the following conditions:

  • Curatorial approval
  • Physical condition of the item
  • Donor-imposed restrictions
  • Limited staff time and resources

About Reproductions and Ordering 

  • All orders are processed in the order they are received.
  • Approximate turnaround periods vary based on material format and demand, but plan on three to four weeks.
  • We are unable to provide technical or graphic editing assistance once you have the files.
  • All orders must be paid for in advance.
    • Staff cannot fulfill requests until payment is made.
    • Payments can be made by check ONLY, at this time.
  • Reproductions are for private use only unless explicit permission has been given by an archivist and all necessary forms have been completed and submitted.
    • Publication (in any format, including print, audio, video, or digital) requires advance written permission and incurs additional fees (see below).

See Reproduction Fees

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