Clayton History Society

Guidelines for Donations to the Collection

Clayton, Missouri became the location of the St. Louis County government and court in the late 1870's and was incorporated as a municipality in 1913. The mission of the Clayton History Society is to preserve, protect, and promote Clayton's unique history so that people may appreciate its past, present and future. To fulfill that mission, the Clayton History Society seeks donations of originals, or copies, of relevant documents and photographs pertaining to the History of Clayton, Missouri.

Scope of the Clayton History Society Collection

In general, the Clayton History Society collects books, documents, reports, manuscripts, maps, photos, posters, postcards, brochures, advertising materials, local organization records, and oral histories relating to living and working in Clayton, Clayton local governance, the built environment, and individuals of note associated with Clayton.

Donation Guidelines

The Clayton History Society can accept large or small donations of materials pertaining to matters within the scope of its collection. To a very limited degree the Society can receive artifacts such as furniture and artwork. Prior to the donation of materials, a representative of the Society will work closely with donors to determine what materials best fit within the Society's collection. Materials that are often of historic value are listed below. Please note that this list is not definitive. Other types of documents or items not included here may have historical value as well.

Materials of Historic Interest

  • Personal and family materials
  • Letters, diaries, scrapbooks
  • Books, maps, paintings
  • Speeches, research notes, lecture notes
  • Photo albums, photographs, biographical information
  • Genealogical information
  • Professional files
  • Video and audio tapes and other recordings
  • Manuscripts, scrapbooks
  • Local school yearbooks, newsletters
  • Organization and institutional materials
  • Articles of incorporation, bylaws, annual reports
  • Correspondence, meeting minutes, legal documents
  • Financial documents, planning documents, press releases
  • Publications, advertising materials
  • Newsletters, posters
  • Event Materials, invitations, Programs, favors
  • Ballots, election memorabilia, campaign literature
  • Hotel and restaurant tableware and menus
  • Postcards, matchbooks

Donation Process

When you desire to donate a collection or materials, please contact Sarah Umlauf at (314) 290-8553. A Society member will be selected to review the materials you wish to donate and discuss with you the appropriateness of the materials for the Collection. The Society prefers to take possession and ownership of your original documents, but will consider making electronic copies of them. The Society member will also discuss with you the most appropriate method of transporting the collection to the Society. Once you and the Society have reached an agreement as to your donation, you must complete and sign a Deed of Gift Form. The printable form can also be found on the left sidebar of this page. If you have any concerns about your legal rights prior to donating a collection, please contact your attorney or other advisor.


When a person writes a letter or diary, he or she possesses rights to those words and the ideas they reflect comparable to the rights of an author who has just written a book. An organization may possess similar rights. Those rights extend only to the material the donor actually created. For example, if you are contemplating donating a collection consisting of carbon copies of letters you wrote to a friend and letters that friend wrote to you, you have copyright interest in your letters but not those of your friend. You may donate the physical property represented by both sets of letters because they are in your possession. You may also donate or withhold the copyright interest you have in your own letters. In most cases, the users of your letters will be scholars, and there will be little economic benefit to retaining copyright to a collection. Generally, the Clayton History Society asks a donor to donate both the physical property and any copyright interests the donor may have to the collection. Nonetheless, should you choose to retain copyright interest, you may do so by using a standard paragraph written for that purpose. The information above is not provided as legal advice. Should you be concerned about your legal rights prior to donating a collection, please contact your attorney.

Tax Information

We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. If you wish to take a tax deduction for the value of the donation and/or for paying for shipping to the Society, consult your accountant and/or tax attorney as soon as possible. By federal law, the Society (like any archives) cannot give advice on these matters and cannot make appraisals. Archival appraisers are available in many major metropolitan areas. The Society of American Archivists publishes a list of appraisers in its Directory of Consultants. It is available from them by writing to SAA, 600 S. Federal Suite 504, Chicago, IL 60605. The relevant IRS publications are: Publication 561, Determining the Value of Donated Property; Publication 526, Charitable Contributions; and Instructions for and Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions. The telephone number to request these publications and forms is 1-800-TAX-FORM.