Processing the Buildings and Grounds Collection

Amherst College Buildings and Grounds Collection Processing Plan

  • Number Feet (Number Boxes): (per 2014 finding aid) 100 ft² (4 document boxes; 30 records boxes; 21 oversize flat boxes; 19 rolls; 21 map case drawers (approx. 263 folders))
  • Location: ASC
  • Expected Completion Date: December 2018
  • Archivist: Jennifer Bolmarcich


The Amherst College Buildings and Grounds Collection is an artificial collection created over time by the curators and archivists of Amherst College. It contains documents about the development of the campus, the buildings, the grounds, and the environment of Amherst College. Material types include correspondence, reports, ephemera, architectural plans, maps, photographs, and artwork.


Rearrangement of Buildings & Grounds is necessary to:

  1. Transfer college records from the Physical Plant from Buildings & Grounds to the Physical Plant Records Group
  2. Intellectually collocate material currently separated in description, e.g. material in Series 4: Duplicate Images should be listed with building or location of origin, or deaccessioned if truly superfluous.
  3. Clarify the nature and extent of actual archival material and remove unrelated or administrative documents (physical cross-references, reference inquiries, etc.).
  4. Accurately describe the full collection to enable access and use of this heavily-referenced collection.
  5. Integrate external material into current description (map case holdings)

The proposed rearrangement will address the long-standing problem of name changes and functional shifts through a chronological listing of buildings (by acquisition, not construction) instead of the existing semi-alphabetical listing. Accuracy of classification will be a priority (i.e., statues are not buildings), and planning for future accruals will be included. Chronological listing will also allow for easy addition of new buildings while eliminating the need to rearrange when building names change. See the series processing notes for comments on series arrangement decisions.



  1. Buildings
  2. Grounds and Properties
  3. Architects and Landscapers
  4. Duplicate Images and Publications
  5. Stereograph Images
  6. Framed Images
  7. Physical Plant Records (Restricted)


[temporary name] | /** commentary **/

	Series 1: [Amherst College Campus as a whole]
		Subseries A: [Campus Indexes, Guides, Lists, Timelines]
		Subseries B: Campus Maps
		Subseries C: Campus Development Plans

	Series 2: Buildings
		Subseries A: Campus Buildings
			Section 1: South College
			Section 2: North College
			Section 3: Johnson Chapel
			Section 4: Etc…
		Subseries B: Faculty Residences
			Section 1: President's House (1821-1834)
			Section 2: President's House (1834-)
			Section 3: Boyden House
			Section 4: Etc…
		Subseries C: Off-Campus Buildings
			Section 1: Emily Dickinson Museum
			Section 2: Amherst Club of New York
			Section 3: Amherst House (Doshisha University, Tokyo, Japan)
			Section 4: Etc….

	Series 3: Grounds and Properties
		Subseries A: Athletic grounds
			Section 1: Blake Field
			Section 2: Pratt Field and Grandstand-Field House
			Section 3: Hitchcock Field
			Section 4: Etc….
		Subseries B: [Open Spaces / Green Spaces] /e.g. Groves, Wildlife Sanctuary, Quad/
			Section 1: Campus Grove; Main Quadrangle
			Section 2: Hallock Grove
			Section 3: Wildlife Sanctuary
			Section 4: Etc...
		Subseries C: Off-Campus Properties
			Section 1: Amherst Golf Club
			Section 2: Etc....

	Series 4: Architects and Landscapers
		Subseries Α: Architects
		Subseries B: Contractors
		Subseries C: [Facilities Staff]

	Series 5: Publications
		/** uncertain about this--depends on amount of actual duplication **/

Processing Work


Buildings and Grounds needs substantial appraisal of provenance to identify college records and to clarify and record all accessions of material. Physical Plant records and other college records will be transferred to the correct record groups, and accession records will be updated or created as needed to document transfers.


The collection is currently inconsistently described; ostensible folder-level description is often vague and even inaccurate. Subseries and sections are not identified as such. All series will be given appropriate subseries, with further sections as needed. Buildings and locations will be described at this section level, with materials and formats described in aggregate. All buildings will be given dates, and possibly addresses (this is more applicable to the faculty housing subseries than the main campus).


Alumni House, 75 Churchill Street, was built in 1955…Materials include building plans, photographs, and dedication programs.

Section 1: Alumni House (1955-), 1955-2015 Box 32 Folders 28-30

Description emphasis will be on intellectual arrangement and collocation, recognizing that special formats and oversize materials are appropriately housed in different locations. Provenance will be important too—accessions research may change description and arrangement plans.


Published works may be separated; physical plant materials will be transferred; discrete collections (i.e., Taft’s research materials and publications) may be created per provenance.

Collection-Level Tasks

      1. Before physical handling:
        •   Make ALL accession records available in ASpace. Create object records as needed to track material.
          • Status: Completed!
        • Separating Physical Plant materials
          • Status: In progress
        •   List all PP accessions; flag locations of material w/in B & G.
          • Status: Completed!
        •   Use Taft and update from 2007 for comprehensive buildings list for subseries
          • Status: Completed!
        • Calculate boxes/folders—give ML heads up.
          • Status: To Be Done
        • Map Case listings—parse and integrate
          • Status: To Be Done
        • Consistency on housing will be needed—photographs scattered throughout, often with multiple sizes.
          • Discussion with Mariah about necessity/desirability of separation (i.e. researchers using “photos” box will need gloves).
            • Status: To Be Done
          • Consider slides, stereographs, negatives, artwork, and large format materials
      2. Physical processing tasks
        • Removal of duplicate and non-archival material will be critical.
        • Eliminating duplicate and number/letter folder numbering will be necessary.
        • All material currently in record boxes will be transferred to document boxes.
        • Smaller boxes will minimize physical stress both on collection materials and on archives staff.
        • Refoldering will be necessary for all materials.


  1. Remove x-ref sheets; record details in FA where needed.
    • Multiple types of x-refs:
      1. Material elsewhere in collection: if similar subject matter, note in FA; if format-related, change listing to reflect intellectual arrangement.
      2. Material elsewhere at Amherst: note as related materials in FA
      3. References to published material: note as related materials in FA.
  2. Remove photocopies if there are also archival materials in the folder.
  3. Remove photocopies and folder if there is **only** photocopies
  4. Remove empty folders
  5. Track all removals & transfers on inventory worksheet.

Series (and lower-level)-specific instructions

Series 1: (Amherst College Campus as a whole) (Box 1)


This first series will contain all material that relates to the campus as a unit, like building lists, tour guides, maps, and development plans.

    1. Subseries A: [Campus Indexes, Guides, Lists, Timelines]
      • Box 1, 10 folders
      • /**A buildings list explaining eponyms would be very useful–maybe on website?**/
      • /**Current Clippings section includes student papers — need to check accession records**/
    2. Subseries B: Campus Maps
      • Box 22,
      • OSF13, 3 folders;
      • map case?
    3. Subseries C: Campus Development Plans
      • Box 1, 5 folders
      • Box 1B, 13 folders
      • Box 47, 1 folder – slides)
    Physical processing
  1. Removal of duplicate and non-archival material will be critical. Eliminating duplicate and number/letter folder numbering will be necessary. Map case materials will be relevant.

    Given the variety of materials present, more detailed description (folder level?) than planned section-level may be needed for this series.

    Series 2: Buildings, & Series 3: Grounds and Properties

    1. Series 2: Buildings
      1. Subseries A: Campus Buildings
        • /not planning to separate student housing (frat or not, but possibly will have reference list? uncertain/
        • Section 1: South College
        • Section 2: North College
        • Section 3: ETC.
      2. Subseries B: Faculty Residences
        1. Section 1: President’s House (1821-1834)
        2. Section 2: President’s House (1834- )
        3. Section 3: ETC.
    2. Series 3: Grounds and Properties
      1. Subseries A: Athletic grounds
        1. Section 1: Blake Field
        2. Section 2: Pratt Field and Grandstand-Field House
        3. Section 3: ETC.
    Physical processing
  2. Appropriate aggregate description will be important, and the careful integration of material currently listed in Series 4: Duplicate Publications. Adding accessioned but undescribed material (Taft’s research materials, etc.) is also likely. Provenance assessment and identification of published materials may help to flag inappropriate inclusions. Material currently listed in Duplicate Images and Publications will be transferred to correct sections, even if housing remains separate.

    Series 2 should be the largest of the collection. There are approx. 200 buildings in total over the 200 year history of the school. Series 3 will also be substantial – about 1/3 to 1/2 of Series 1. Building (section) level description is the goal. Where buildings are groups (Greenway dorms, possible frat houses), description may be appropriate at the group level.

    Series 4: Architects and Landscapers

    1. Subseries A: Architects
    2. Subseries B: Contractors
    3. Subseries C: [Facilities Staff]
    Physical processing
  3. Expect to find records among contractors’ materials. Trace provenance wherever possible.

    Anticipate working at the section level by architect or firm.

    Series 5: Publications

    /(uncertain about this–depends on amount of actual duplication)/


    currently undetermined

    Physical processing

    Anticipated deduplication


    Description will depend on nature and volume of documents. Ideally brief description will suffice of what remains after moving building associated materials into Series 2.