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Mission Statement of the UNB Archives & Special Collections

The purpose of the University of New Brunswick Archives is the collection, preservation and administration of records of, and papers related to, the University of New Brunswick, its predecessors and affiliates, in order to foster an awareness and understanding of our past, [and] to ensure the availability of these materials for administrative, legal and research purposes.

As well, the UNB Archives and Special Collections acquires, preserves and makes available private, historical and literary papers, books, pamphlets and periodicals relating to New Brunswick in particular, and the Maritime Provinces in general.

Using Material in Archives & Special Collections

Since many of the items housed in Archives & Special Collections are rare, unique, or fragile, special care must be taken when handling them. The co-operation of researchers is requested in order to preserve these items. All of the materials are non-circulating and may only be used in our Research Room.

Researchers must complete the paper Book Retrieval form found in Archives, indicating the author, title, call number, and location code, and/or the Application for the Use of Manuscripts form. Once the forms are completed, the material will be brought to you in the Research Room. Please note that some items are stored off-site and will require at least 24 hours’ notice for retrieval.

We ask researchers to observe the following procedures:

  • All coats, bags and cases must be stored in the lockers provided.
  • Only pencils may be used for note taking.
  • Eating and drinking is not permitted in the Research Room.
  • Latex or cotton gloves (supplied) may be required for the handling of some materials.
  • Always place a book flat on the table. Book weights for holding pages open are available at the Archives Information Desk as are acid-free bookmarks.
  • Archival/manuscript materials must be kept in the order in which they are placed in the file folder.
  • Laptops are permitted for use in the Research Room.
  • Scanners are not permitted in the Research Room - consult our scanning policy for further information.
  • Permission to use digital cameras must be requested prior to the retrieval of material and is granted at the discretion of Archives staff.
  • Cell phones are not permitted on the fifth floor, including the Archives Research Room.
  • All materials must be returned to staff at the Archives Information Desk. If you plan to return later to consult the material, please inform staff so the material can be placed on a hold shelf.

Photocopying Policy

All researchers are encouraged to visit Archives & Special Collections in person and to take notes from the material they consult. If this is not possible, or if on-site researchers wish to make convenience copies, Archives staff will consider such requests on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the condition and physical size of the material and any copyright restrictions. Please note that there is a fee for this service — consult our chart of reprographic fees for further information on pricing. Pre-payment is required and requests will be filled only after payment is received - photocopying is done by Archives staff. Staffing limitations may not allow on-demand copying.

Scanning/Use of Digital Camera Policy

Requests for digital copies of material will be considered on a case-by-case basis and depends on the condition and physical size of the item(s) and any copyright restrictions. If permitted, scanning will be done by Archives staff or can be done by the researcher if they have an approved overhead scanner that will not damage the material.

Permission to use digital cameras in the Research Room must be requested and is granted at the discretion of Archives staff dependent on any donor restrictions on the material or if the material is too fragile. Arrangements can be made to have the material professionally scanned for research purposes.  Please consult with staff.

Book Collection Policies

Archives Book Collection (HIL-SPECAR)


The Archives Book Collection consists of:

  1. Books and pamphlets about New Brunswick in particular
  2. Books and pamphlets about the Maritimes in general*
  3. Books and pamphlets published in New Brunswick (Except literary material which is now seldom added to this collection.)
  4. Serials relating to New Brunswick in particular and the Maritimes in general, the foregoing normally excludes post-1900 New Brunswick government publications.

* "The Maritimes in general" will, in future, mean any work on the Maritime Provinces that includes significant New Brunswick material.

Material in this collection, as of 30 April 1971, is to remain in the collection.

The policy, as of 1st May 1971, will be to designate material pertaining to "New Brunswick in particular and the Maritimes in general" as our special area of concentration, in an attempt to build a New Brunswick historical collection. Retrospective and current purchasing policy will aim at completeness.

No materials from the HIL open stack collection in LC Class "FC" will be removed from circulation, to sale or to disposal, without consultation with the Head of Special Collections.

Revised: Jan. 2005

Rare Book Collection (HIL-SPECRB)


Books from King's College Library (1829-1859) formed the basis of our Rare Book Collection. Over the years other items were added - some because of their age, some for safe-keeping, and some because of format, or scarcity. Rare books were never actively collected at UNB.

Procedures which make library materials less available to the public will be avoided whenever possible. The Library's main purpose is to put materials in the hands of borrowers. However preservation of materials, rare or otherwise, is part of this mandate. Materials in frequent use will not, as a rule, be designated SPECRB unless their subject content is available to researchers in some other format (e.g. microform, reprint, or online). Infrequently-used materials may be examined for the purpose of determining if they are "rare" (e.g. items which have a high monetary value on the antiquarian market, or items which are obviously subject to mutilation.)

All King's College Library books will be added to the SPECRB collection.

The following categories of materials will be considered on an individual basis:

  1. Items published prior to 1900, in or about Canada, taking into account other factors such as type of material, edition statement, condition, and number of other copies in the system, including copies already held in SPECRB.
  2. Works issued in limited editions. A limited edition is usually considered to be one which is issued in 300 or fewer copies. Most limited editions will be acquired as gifts, not purchases.
  3. Multi-volume works. In some cases, loss of a single volume of a set can render it worthless. (e.g. Jesuit Relations, Champlain Society, Canada and its provinces).
  4. Books autographed by famous or world figures.
  5. Inscribed or association copies
  6. Deluxe, delicate, fragile or easily mutilated editions. (e.g. Michiel Oudeman's A short anthology of fish prints. Fredericton: Kingfisher Press, n.d.)
  7. Items of proven value on the antiquarian market of $500 per volume or more. This is an arbitrary guideline and will be altered as book prices change.

Materials will be considered for transfer to SPECRB by members of the Archives & Special Collections Department and the Collections Development Department. Suggestions for transfer may be made by any staff member.

Revised: Jan. 2005

Rufus Hathaway Collection of Canadian Literature (HIL-SPECH)


The Hathaway Collection consists of materials about Canadian literature gathered by the donor, Rufus H. Hathaway, until the time of his death in March 1933, and described in the printed catalogue issued by the University in 1935 [PS 8061.N48 - located in Ref. and SPECAR].

Canadian literature published from 1933 and later should, in general, NOT be added to the Hathaway Collection. Reprints and new editions of books already in this collection, and originally published before 1933, should normally be added to the library's open stack collection.

  1. Additions to the Hathaway Collection will include purchases and gifts of:
    1. Books and periodicals which fall within the publication dates and scope of Hathaway's own collection.
    2. The Ryerson Chap Books - continuing the run R.H. Hathaway began
    3. Fiddlehead Poetry Books
    4. Goose Lane Editions publications
    5. Current monographs or research on Bliss Carman, Charles G.D. Roberts, and Francis Sherman.
    6. Books associated with our literary manuscript collections (e.g. David Walker, Robert Hawkes, Robert Gibbs)
  2. Volumes of description and travel (Canadian) published prior to Confederation (1867) should NOT be added to the Hathaway Collection but rather to the Rare Book (SPECRB) Collection, or to the Archives Collection of New Brunswick historical volumes (SPECAR) as appropriate.
  3. Other items may be designated for the Hathaway Collection instead of for the open stacks.

Items for location decision, either limited editions or autographed copies, whether Canadian or not, should be sent to the Head of Special Collections to determine which special collection is appropriate (e.g. Rare Books instead of Hathaway)

Revised: Jan. 2005