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Pratt Institute Archives

Historical papers, images, and artifacts that document the history and development of Pratt Institute


The Pratt Institute Archives forms part of Pratt Institute Libraries and as such adheres to the Libraries’ mission to provide outstanding service and access to a resource-rich environment that facilitates critical thinking and creative teaching and learning. To help fulfill this mission, the Archives identifies, acquires, preserves, and provides access to primary source materials that support the teaching, learning, and research activities of Pratt Institute’s faculty, staff, students, and the larger research community. Likewise, the Pratt Institute Archives mission is guided by the Society of American Archivists Guidelines for College and University Archives , which defines their purpose as “documenting the process of institutional evolution by retaining both the evidence which shapes decisions and the decisions themselves" .1 Thus, Pratt Institute Archives preserves the official records of administrators and administrative offices, Pratt Institute’s academic programs and courses of instruction, and records of academic departments and committees, insofar as they have permanent historical value. 

1. Society of American Archivists. (1999). Guidelines for College and University Archives.

Access Policy

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, on-site visits will only be available to Pratt staff, faculty, and students starting September 8th, 2020. Archives staff are working on-site to answer reference questions and will continue to serve the community within and beyond Pratt Institute virtually. Please be advised that requests may take longer than usual to be fulfilled as access to archival holdings continues to be limited. To schedule an appointment or to make a reference or reproduction request, please email

Pratt Institute Archives’ access policy is guided by the International Council of Archives Principles of Access to Archives, which state that “both public and private entities should open their archives to the greatest extent possible” and that “Archives are made available on equal and fair terms”. Likewise, Pratt Institute Archives follows the Society of American Archivists’ Core Values, which cite access and use, accountability, and social responsibility as part of archivists’ professional responsibilities. As such, Pratt Institute Archives is committed to fostering transparency, open dialogue, and equity through free and open access to its archival collections. Pratt Institute Archives collections are open to faculty, staff, students, and external researchers without regard to academic or institutional affiliations. 

Pratt Institute Archives prioritizes resources for the preservation of and access to unrestricted collections. Archives resources are only provided for the retention and preservation of restricted materials after careful consideration for their impact to the Archives’ mission, its commitment to providing access to Pratt Institute’s history, and considerations for privacy rights and public knowledge. Restrictions imposed on Archival materials are included in each collection’s finding aid as well as noted at the time of the request. Access to restricted materials will be granted on the basis of protecting the privacy of those persons documented in the records and not based on the requestor's institutional affiliation or research purposes. Additionally, Pratt Institute Archives does not provide access to student records protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99). 

Research visits are available through appointments Monday through Friday from 10am to 4pm. To request an appointment or to consult with an archivist, please email First-time visitors will be required to fill out a registration form. Researchers may decline to inform archivists of the purpose of their research. 

Individual documents and photographs from Archives collections may be digitized for access and use at the request of patrons. Faculty, staff, and students may request digital reproductions free of charge. Likewise, archival materials may be used free of charge in conjunction with Institute generated research and communications. For reproduction and use fees for patrons or publications not affiliated with Pratt, please consult the Pratt Institute Libraries Use Fee Schedule and Reproduction Fee Schedule. Materials from the Pratt Institute Archives may not be reproduced without specific written permission from Pratt Institute. To request a digital reproduction or permission to use Archives materials in any publication, contact the Archives at

Collection Development Policy


The Pratt Institute Archives contains Pratt Institute’s publications, reports, memoranda, images, audiovisual tapes, and other items documenting the history of the Institute. The Archives also includes selected administrative files of Institute offices and papers of Charles Pratt (founder), other members of the Pratt family directly involved with the administration of the Institute, and some faculty and administrators. Emphasis is placed on primary source materials having longterm research and instructional value for the Pratt community.

The Archives collects the following materials on the following topics:

● Pratt Institute’s history

● Pratt’s traditions and events

● Papers of the Institute's board

● Student organizations and activities

● Faculty materials produced while working at the Institute that reflect the Institute’s mission and activities

● Alumni papers produced that document education at Pratt or have a relation to the Institute’s mission and activities 

Materials Collected

Collections must be mostly original, authentic, and reflect the people and surrounding communities that Pratt Institute serves. Non-unique reference material is accepted as part of larger donations as long as it helps the Institute Archivist and Processing Archivist organize, describe, and provide access to the collection. Personal collections donated to the Archives must primarily consist of unpublished material. The scope of collections acquired and preserved by the Archives are based on the Society of American Archivists delineation of academic records:

1. Legal or constituting documents

2. Reports

3. Departmental and organizational records

4. Publications and marketing material

5. Special format materials documenting the operation and development of the institution:

6. Personal records and papers produced by school-related individuals while actively connected with the school:

Collecting Approach

The Archives primarily acquires materials through transfers from Pratt’s internal departments, committees, and organizations as well as gifts from external donors. The Archives will only purchase materials in special instances as determined by the Institute Archivist, the Head of Digital and Special Collections, and the Library Director. Pratt Institute staff, faculty, and members of student organizations should email if interested in transferring materials to the Archives. External donors should read Guide to Donating Materials to the Pratt Institute Libraries and contact the Institute Archivist. The Archives only accepts donations that fit into the Pratt Institute Archives Collection Development Policy, Pratt Institute’s mission, and Pratt Institute Libraries’ mission. We ask that donors do not send materials without prior approval and request from the Institute Archivist. 

Conditions of Acquisition

Materials donated or purchased by Pratt Institute Archives must aid in the fulfillment of the Pratt Institute Archives’ mission as well as the Pratt Institute Libraries’ mission, particularly of providing “access to a resource-rich environment”. For this reason, the Archives will not accept materials with access restrictions (confidential information will be removed during processing). 56 Donations under an embargo will be considered on a case by case basis by the Institute Archivist, the Head of Digital and Special Collections, and the Library Director. When another repository is in possession of a significant number of records or manuscripts pertaining to an individual or organization related to Pratt, excluding institutional records, the Archives will generally reject the donation in favor of keeping collections of the same provenance together. Donors are required to sign a deed of gift granting the Archives permission to process, deaccession, establish preservation procedures, and provide access to the materials.  

Format of the Materials

The Pratt Institute Archives collects a variety of formats and types of materials including paper, photographic prints, negatives, slides, textiles, three-dimensional artifacts, audio visual materials, and digital media including, but not limited to: still image, moving image, audio, digital art, websites, email, and electronic documents. Please consult with the Institute Archivist at before making a donation to the Archives to ensure we are able to properly preserve and provide access to new collections. 


Archives collections are primarily in English. 

Chronological Focus

The Archives collections address the time period beginning with the founding of Pratt Institute in 1887 to the present. Materials prior to Pratt Institute’s founding are collected insofar as they relate to Charles Pratt. 

Deaccessions and Separations

Deaccessioning refers to “The process by which an archives, museum, or library permanently removes accessioned materials from its holdings."2  During appraisal and processing, materials determined to be out of scope, not unique, not archival, and/or not fitting into the Pratt Institute Archives Collection Development Policy, Pratt Institute’s mission, and/or Pratt Institute Libraries' mission will be deaccessioned. Materials may be deaccessioned at a collection level, where a full collection is deemed out-of-scope following appraisal, or at a series or item level, where only some materials are considered out-of-scope and warranting separation from the larger collection. The Archives adheres to the archival concept of provenance and thus will strive to keep materials of the same provenance together. When a large portion of a collection is found to be out of scope with the Pratt Institute Archives, the collection will be returned to the donor and, when possible, recommended to a more appropriate repository. Decisions concerning the deaccession or separation of materials will be made by the Institute Archivist. 

2. Society of American Archivists. (2005). Deaccessioning. In Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology.

To view the Libraries full Collection Development Policy, click here