How to...

Transfer Your Historically Significant Records to the University Archives

We collaborate with Harvard offices, programs, research centers, libraries, and museums to preserve records that reflect our history and community.


Harvard's administrative offices, academic programs, research centers, libraries, and museums serve an important role in the mission of the Harvard University Archives: to assist us in identifying, collecting, and preserving materials that broadly and comprehensively reflect our history and community, and to ensure the safety of our most vital University records.

Working with Records Management and Archives staff, faculty, staff and administrators can help us identify those records that should be transferred to the University Archives at the correct time.

Once these records are transferred to the Archives, they are stored securely by the staff and can be accessed by scholars and Harvard staff alike in accordance with University records policies.

Records Management Services for Transfers

Harvard University Archives
Pusey Library, Harvard Yard
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Identifying Records for Transfer

How do you know what records to transfer to the University Archives?

Harvard's General Records Schedule (GRS) can help you to identify the types of records you may have in your office and how long to keep them.

Most entries in the GRS direct you to retain records for a specific number of years, after which they can be destroyed.

Records that have historical value and may be appropriate for transfer to the University Archives are indicated in the retention plan by the phrases "contact archives" or "transfer to archives."

If this is your first time using the GRS or if you would like a refresher, visit our Records Schedule Basics page (HarvardKey required).

Once you've identified records for transfer, the next steps on this page outline how to transfer physical documents to the Archives.

If you have questions about how best to handle digital records, contact us: 

Preparing Records for Transfer

1. Ordering Archives Boxes

To order boxes, email

Box orders are linked to your office's Records Center account. If you don't already have an account, complete the records center contract (PDF).

Archives staff can assist you in figuring out how many boxes you need to order and provide information on next steps for your transfer.

2. Packing Your Records

Records that are ready for transfer to the Archives must be properly packed and labeled in order to be transported by the couriers to the Archives.

Large archives transfers may also require you to have barcodes or pick-up slips attached to the boxes. Our staff can provide guidance on any additional requirements for special archives transfers.


3. Completing Your Transfer Paperwork

You must complete an inventory of the materials you're sending to the Archives as well as get an authorization form signed by the head of your department.

4. Requesting a Review and Transfer

Once you have completed the paperwork, send it to for review.

Archives staff will review the paperwork, and if everything is correct we will make arrangements for the records to be picked up by Harvard University Mail Services and transferred to the Archives.