Byrd Polar Research Center Archival Program Collection Management and Development Policy

A. Statement of Purpose

The Byrd Polar Research Center Archival Program (BPRCAP) is a collaborative effort of the Byrd Polar Research Center and The Ohio State University Libraries/Archives.  Its mission is to collect, preserve, and provide access to historical documents concerned with exploration and scientific investigation of the Polar Regions. The goal of the BPRCAP is to make rare or unique historical material about polar exploration and scientific investigation available for research and educational use in the context of an active polar research environment. Historical collections contain papers, records, photographs and other forms of documentation concerning explorers, scientists and other figures and organizations prominent in the advancement of knowledge about polar environments.

The purpose of the Collection Management and Development Policy is to identify areas of collection and to manage resources by establishing priorities.  Gifts that require extraordinary costs for preservation, storage, processing and cataloging are reviewed in accordance with the OSU Libraries’ Gifts in Kind Review Policy for Special Collections.

B. Nature of the Collection

The BPRCAP collects the papers (letters, diaries, photographs, reports, expeditionary records) and artifacts (medals, furs, etc.) of explorers and scientists who have contributed to knowledge of Polar Regions.   The core of the collection includes:  Papers of Admiral Richard E. Byrd, the Papers of Sir George Hubert Wilkins, the Frederick A. Cook Society Records, and the American Polar Society Records (APS).

More details about the collection are available at:

C. Collecting Activities


  • Documentation of Byrd, Wilkins, Cook or the APS.
  • Documentation and/or artifacts that complement existing collections, i.e., papers of expedition members who accompanied Byrd, Cook or Wilkins.
  • Oral histories of polar explorers or scientists produced by the BPRCAP Oral History Project or other programs.
  • Documentation of prominent contemporary polar researchers/scientists of the Byrd Polar Research Center.

Secondary Priorities 

(Collections acceptable only if resources exist without jeopardizing priorities identified above.)

  • Artifacts
  • Documentation concerning oral history interviewees created during the course of their careers.
  • Prominent scientists who were not members of the Byrd Polar Research Center.
  • Collections available for purchase only.

[Note: If collections of the above are not accepted, prospective donors should be directed to other colleges and universities and historical agencies and members of the International Polar Libraries Colloquy.]

Not collected by the BPRCAP

  • Raw scientific data (accepted on a case by case basis)
  • Books and other published materials may be retained by the BPRCAP as reference materials.  Otherwise, these are referred to the Goldthwait Library of the Byrd Polar Research Center.
  • Collections that have indefinite restrictions on use.

Revised December 2009

PDF version of the Collection Managment and Development Policy