Documenting Diversity

In the fall of 1998, the Archives and Special Collections Department of the Northeastern University Libraries began a two-year project funded in part by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission to identify, locate, secure, and make accessible the most important and at-risk historical records of Boston's African American, Chinese, gay and lesbian, and Latino communities. Although the outside funding has been exhausted, the Archives is continuing this important project.

Working with community advisors, project staff analyzed the four communities in terms of the organizations that serve community members and selected documentation priorities from among them. The Project Coordinator compiled a database of information about all of these organizations, which includes the status and location of their non-current records. Four brochures, one for each of the communities, were produced and sent to all organizations represented in the database with the goal of raising their awareness of the importance of preserving their historical records. Project staff made further contact with more than 30 organizations about donating their records to Northeastern.

Guides to numerous project-related collections are listed with our Boston history collections.

If you are interested in conducting a documentation project, the New York State Archives, with cooperation from this project, developed Documentation Topics Framework as a tool to assist archivists.

To view the brochures online, click here.

African American History brochure Gay and Lesbian History brochure Chinese-American History brochure Latino History brochure

For further information, please contact Joan Krizack (617-373-8318,