The Theosophical Society in America

Access to the Archives

Access to the Archives

The Theosophical Society in America wants its archival materials to be used by members, academic researchers, and members of the general public. The Archivist is responsible to establish means of access to archival collections that meet the needs of these constituencies while maintaining meeting legal obligations, donor preferences, and the preservation needs of the collections.
Archival collections are stored in closed stacks in controlled environments, and are not open to browsing except under very special circumstances.
Researchers must use archival collections during normal weekday working hours unless special arrangements are made with the staff. Researchers are expected to: 

  • notify the Archivist in advance of a planned visit so that requested materials can be delivered to the reading room
    • identify themselves and their research topics
    • read our “Policies for Use of Materials” flyer
    • sign a Researcher Registration form
  • treat materials with respect and care
  • refrain from eating and drinking around archival materials
  • refrain from using ink pens and highlighters around archival materials; pencils are permitted
  • refrain from creasing pages or applying sticky notes
  • wear gloves if requested
  • refrain from publishing replicas of archival documents without permission
  • comply with any other rules of the reading room
  • respect legal requirements of copyright, privacy, confidentiality, and restrictions established in deeds of gift
  • pay for photocopies and scans
  • acknowledge the source of archival information used in publications

The Archivist may substitute surrogates when the fragility of archival materials makes handling of the originals impractical. Certain restricted materials may legally have to have names redacted before use, such as medical records.
Staff members and volunteers are expected to treat archival materials with respect and care.

When possible, non-digital archival materials will be scanned or converted to a digital format that permits broader dissemination over the Internet. Digital watermarks may be used on photographs, document, and images at the discretion of the Archivist.