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Archives + Acquisitions

Mission & Scope of Collections

The Southwestern Writers Collection (SWWC) at the Wittliff Collections collects materials that contribute to an understanding of the greater Southwest through literature, drama, film, music, and other cultural arts. The resources in the Collection attest to the tremendous diversity of creative expression among Southwestern artists and contribute to a rich research environment, within which students and scholars may work and thrive, discovering how the unique conditions and character of the Southwest have shaped its people and their cultural arts.

With very few exceptions, all of the SWWC’s archives have been donated to the Collections. At last count, our general donors number almost 600 and are increasing every year.

Making a Gift

If you are interested in making a gift of material to the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University-San Marcos, please contact the Curator. Providing a description and/or inventoried listing of the item(s) or collection under consideration and their condition is helpful, but not required. For printed items, please provide author, title, date, publisher, and place of publication.

Staff Contact

Steve Davis
The Wittliff Collections
Texas State University-San Marcos
601 University Drive
San Marcos, TX 78666

What to preserve:

Types of materials of greatest research interest are:

  •  correspondence
  •  journals/diaries
  •  press clippings, reviews, or articles
  •  subject/research files
  •  manuscript drafts at all stages (notated drafts, copyedited proofs, etc.)
  •  photographs (labeled – if possible, on back of photo in pencil)
  •  films/videos/audio tapes (labeled)
  •  electronic records/files*
  •  ephemera (playbills, programs, broadsides, invitations, etc.)
  •  relevant artifacts

*Consult with the curator regarding archival submissions of digital records and files.

We do not typically accept donations of personal libraries and book collections, unless the library is specifically oriented towards Southwestern culture. We can also consider unique texts that have contributed directly to shaping the research or development of an author’s body of work. We are unable to consider personal art collections, unless the artwork is created specifically by the author.

What We Do Not Collect

Our institutional mission, space, and staff constraints restrict us from accepting all archival materials. However, we welcome the opportunity to review potential donations and to make possible recommendations for more appropriate repositories.

For privacy and security reasons, we do not collect materials such as personal or daily financial records that document social security information.

We are also unable to accept any pest or mold-infested items, which would compromise the safety of our existing collections.

Physical Transfer of Materials and Transfer of Ownership

If you and the curator determine that the Wittliff Collections is the best place for your item(s) or collection, we will negotiate for the safe transport of the material to our location. In cases where the donor is unable to make arrangements, staff members may facilitate packing, or organize shipment via U.S. Mail or FedEx.

A gift receipt or Deed of Gift acknowledging your donation and the terms and condition of your gift will be drafted and sent to you. In certain circumstances, it may be possible for a donor to take a tax deduction for a donation of non-cash gifts of printed materials or manuscripts. Donors should consult a financial advisor or attorney for tax-related information before donating materials and transferring title. Professional standards and IRS regulations prohibit Wittliff Collections staff from making monetary appraisals of collections. For a list of qualified independent appraisers, visit the American Society of Appraisers’ website at

The Deed of Gift establishes a relationship of common understanding and trust between donor and repository. The document governs the legal relationship between parties and transfers legal ownership between donor and repository, while also specifying ownership of copyright. Unless otherwise specified, control of copyright remains in the hands of the original creator.

Care of Materials

When the Wittliff Collections accept archives into its care, we take measures to ensure their long-term preservation and to make materials accessible to researchers and for public display in exhibitions. Archives are housed in closed stack areas under environmentally controlled conditions, are protected by an electronic security system, and do not circulate outside the Wittliff Collections reading room. Acid-free boxes, folders, and other containers are used to house materials and item-level conservation steps are taken when appropriate. Reading room regulations and close staff supervision promote the security and proper use of materials by researchers.


Access to donated papers is governed by our collections policy regarding availability, photo duplication, and publication, while adhering to copyright protection for the original creator. Wittliff Collections staff makes donated materials available to donors as necessary; donors may access their materials in person, or we can provide photocopies or digital scans of original materials. Prospective donors should discuss any special needs or concerns with the curator and formalize any restrictions to access in the Deed of Gift.

Copyright Queries

Copyright generally belongs to the creator of a work, or his or her heirs, but may be legally transferred to the Wittliff Collections, if the donor wishes. Staff will work with donors to develop an agreement regarding how queries for copyright-protected use will be handled. Occasionally, excerpts of donated materials or images from the collections may be used in promotional literature for the Wittliff Collections.