The Reading Room

Please register at the reference desk before entering the room. No bags, briefcases, coats, etc., will be allowed in the reading room, and will be locked in the secure cabinet. Cell phones are not permitted to be used in the reading room. Pencils only may be used for taking notes. Laptop computers are permitted, but no scanners or photographic devices including laptops and cell phones, are allowed under any circumstances. No type of imaging or photographing of materials or our exhibits is permitted anywhere in the Center. Anyone found violating this rule will be expelled from the Center permanently, without exception. There are surveillance cameras in use continually in the reading room and viewed by security personnel off site. All books, folders and other materials will be examined by staff upon your entrance and before your exit.

Permission To Examine

Permission to examine manuscripts will be granted to a qualified scholar upon the completion of the form Application for the use of Manuscript Collections, providing there are no restrictions. This does not carry with it permission to publish such material in whole or in part. Researchers will register at the reference desk, and will provide one form of identification which will be held at the desk while manuscript material is being used. The use of manuscript material is restricted to the Gotlieb Center reading room. Researchers may use only one collection at a time. In certain instances, collections that have not been fully cataloged may not be available to scholars. Only one box at a time may be open and on the table. The arrangement of folders within each box must remain the same.


Requests for photocopying of material will be considered when such duplication can be done without injury to the material, and when it is in accordance with donor agreements and copyright restrictions. Photocopying of unpublished manuscripts requires written permission of the donor and/or creator of the material. Correspondence cannot be photocopied without the permission of both parties involved: the writer of the letter, and the recipient or owner of the letter. Unpublished material no longer governed by copyright will generally be permitted. Staff must approve all photocopying based on these considerations. Any copies made are for personal research only and are not to be reproduced or placed in another repository. Please be as selective as possible in making photocopying requests. Strict limits exist: there is a 75 page limit for large collections, and a 30 page limit for small collections. Please use the Photocopy Request Form, note the number of copies required for each item, and return the form to the archivist. Please indicate item(s) by using acid-free strips placed in folder or book and return the item to the folder where it was located. Your approved photocopy request will be completed when staff schedules permit. Very rarely can an order be completed on the same day. Copies can be mailed at the cost of a postage & handling fee. Alternately, a telephone call can be made indicating that the copies are ready to be picked up. Copies cost twenty-five cents per page for on-site requests, and fifty cents per page, plus shipping and handling, for off-site requests. We accept cash and checks made payable to Boston University, and credit cards for photocopy payments. Payment must be made before the order is copied.

Permission To Publish

Researchers must notify the Center if they intend to publish material from a collection held by the Center. In cases where the Center does not hold copyright, scholars must submit the Notification of Intent to Publish form to the Center. It will also be necessary to obtain permission to publish directly from the author or literary executor. Permission must be secured from Boston University to publish from manuscript collections which the University owns, as well as those for which Boston University has literary copyright. A specific written request for the right to publish may be made on the Permission to Publish application form. Boston University does not surrender its own right to grant permission to others to print the same material, nor does Boston University assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright laws or of the publication rights for the manuscript held by the writer, his heirs, executors, or assignees.


If permission to publish is granted, the manuscript(s) or photograph(s) shall be cited as follows:

From the [collection name] Collection,
Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University

A copy of the published work should be presented to the Gotlieb Center when the work has been released by the publisher.


Christine King Farris

Sonia Sanchez Performs

Forest Whitaker's MLK Leadership Lecture January 21, 2013
Dr. King explains why he donated his collection to Boston University
Paradox of Boston

Interview with John Lewis at Boston University

John Lewis Event Video