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Gift Acceptance Policy

The McGovern Historical Research Center (MHC) seeks to significantly contribute to better health, healthcare, health policies, research and education in the Texas Medical Center and throughout the world.

I. Purpose

The purpose of the McGovern Historical Center is to support healthcare and health policy education, research and community interest by preserving and providing access to historical collections and rare materials that fall within its general scope.

II. General Scope

The McGovern Historical Center collects historical evidence of the Texas Medical Center, as well as papers and records related to healthcare in Houston and Texas more broadly. It also has collecting strengths extending beyond Texas in rheumatology, dentistry, radiation and its effects, North American public health, psychiatry, and mental healthcare.

The foundational rare book collections of the MHC focus on the development of the medical specialties, rheumatology, dentistry, North American public health, psychiatry, and mental healthcare. In line with the MHC’s geographic focus, other books in the collection include biographies of Texas physicians, histories of Texas medical institutions, and medical and nursing school yearbooks.

The MHC prioritizes bound items that (1) enhance the foundational rare books collections, (2) supplement the archival collections, especially items that relate to key collecting focus areas, and (3) address key subject areas in medical history where the collection needs more growth.

The archival collections focus on the papers of individuals and records of institutions connected to the Texas Medical Center, Houston, and Texas. Complimenting the rare book collections, the MHC has also developed archival collections focusing on rheumatology, dentistry, psychiatry, and mental healthcare. A significant sub-set of the archive also focuses on radiation and its effects.

The MHC prioritizes unique, unpublished, firsthand records created by individuals and organizations in the course of their daily activities and recognized as having long-term historical value. The types of archival materials that the MHC collects include correspondence, minutes of meetings, financial papers, legal papers, certificates, ledgers, notebooks, photographic prints and negatives, scrapbooks, maps, printed materials, audio recordings, film and video recordings, digital files, anatomical drawings, course catalogs, reports, newsletters, yearbooks and selected three-dimensional objects.

III. Criteria for Selection

  • Fits within the General Scope
  • Historical significance
  • Provenance (who created or owned it?)
  • Relationship to existing holdings (Does it fill a gap? Does it build on a strength?)
  • Potential for scholarship
  • Uniqueness
  • Age
  • Condition (unless particularly significant, items in poor condition are not accepted)

IV. Languages

Texas Medical Center is an international entity, and the MHC collects works in languages that directly relate to TMC. Languages represented in the collections of the MHC consist of European languages and Japanese, the majority in English. Languages are expressed in written and spoken word.

V. Donations

Donations of books, personal papers, institutional records, visual materials or any other items are solicited in an ethical and appropriate manner. A donor is asked to sign a deed of gift granting all ownership rights to The TMC Library.

VI. Responsibility for Selection

Generally, the decision to add an item(s) to the collection is based not on one factor but on a combination of several criteria (listed above) and is made by the archivists. Acquisition or acceptance of exceedingly large or expensive donations that may affect storage capacity, security or staffing requirements will require consultation with the Executive Director of The TMC Library.

VII. De-selection

Items in the collection are subject to periodic review and de-selection. These items may be transferred to archival institutions with an appropriate collection policy. Items may also be de-accessioned and offered for sale. This is the decision of the archivists and the Executive Director. Materials set for disposal can be returned to the donor at their expense.

IX. Financial Appraisals

The McGovern Historical Center staff do not provide financial appraisals for gifts donated to the Library. Staff do not appraise personal books, archival materials or other items for any purpose.

X. Use

The rare book and archival materials of the MHC do not circulate outside the departmental premises. Scanned images or photocopies may be made available with or without cost at the discretion of the archivists. In some cases, items may be loaned to other institutions for exhibits or special purposes at the discretion of the archivists. The archivists or Executive Director may refuse a loan if items are especially rare, delicate, in poor condition or at particular risk for degradation through handling, exposure to light or other factors.