Research at HGARC


As a private research university, the resources, spaces, and staff efforts of the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center primarily serve the research, educational, and instructional needs of the Boston University community.  Requests for access to collections, and for educational support services from the BU community will be prioritized.

By accessing services remotely, or visiting the Center in person, patrons, researchers and visitors to the Gotlieb Center agree to adhere to the Libraries Code of Conduct, which outlines the expectations and requirements for using Libraries' spaces and resources to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for all.

Online Information

The Gotlieb Center website provides scope and content descriptions for most collections, and in many cases collection inventories are available as well.  If a collection inventory is available online, there will be a graphic on the landing page for that collection that looks like this:


While most collections represent the life and work of individuals (e.g., Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Elie Wiesel, Sonia Sanchez), Center staff have also organized SUBJECT GUIDES to help to identify themes and areas of common interest or experience in the lives and work of our "collectees".  Examples of topics include Civil Rights; Artists & Cartoonists; Espionage; History & Biography; Jewish Studies; Journalism; Musicology, Poetry; Theatre & Film and more.

Remote Reference

If, after reviewing the online information for a collection, you have questions, please complete the ASK A QUESTION form and submit it to our archival team, who will respond in as timely a manner as possible.  Please note that it may take up to two weeks for an archivist to respond to your question.

If you have identified an item on a collection inventory and would like to request a reproduction, that can also be done on the ASK A QUESTION form.  Please be as specific as possible when describing your copy request, including box and folder number if possible.  Staff will review your request in consideration of copyright and donor agreements, as well as amount of material and condition of material, and physical access.  No more than 150 pages will be copied for any research project within any 12-month period.

Collections stored off-site cannot be serviced by staff at this time; we are unable to provide duplication of audio or video materials.

Educational support and class sessions

Archivists may be able to host a virtual class visit for faculty and their students; availability for such class visits is limited, and all classes require a meeting (virtual or face-to-face) between the faculty instructor and the archivist to be certain the Center can meet the educational goals of the course. Faculty may request a class session for their students on the ASK A QUESTION form; at least three weeks advance notice is necessary for a class request to be reviewed and scheduled.

In-Person Research

Beginning on Monday November 1, 2021, the Gotlieb Center will reopen our reading room on the fifth floor of the Mugar Memorial Library, 771 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, MA. In-person research is by appointment only, and appointment requests will be processed according to the order received when online scheduling begins. Seating in the reading room will be limited.

Visitors will need to complete a short check-in and show a valid photo ID when entering through the kiosk at the entrance of the Mugar Memorial Library.

In-person research will commence on the first two business days of each week with the following guidelines and expectations:

  • Visitors to the Gotlieb Center will be required to follow BU mask-wearing requirements,
  • Visitors must attest that they are experiencing no symptoms of COVID-19.

Visitors should not report to campus if they feel unwell
or are experiencing any 
of the symptoms of COVID-19

  • In-person research is available by appointment only; collections stored off-site and/or with donor restrictions, are not available.

  • Appointments must be requested at least three weeks before your planned visit.

  • Requests for appointments are tentative until receipt of a confirmation email from the Public Service team. All requests are subject to review to ensure that any logistical issues with retrieval or donor restrictions can be met within the timeframe of the appointment request.

  • All appointments are subject to change or cancellation for public health, logistics, or other reasons at the discretion of the BU Libraries leadership.        

  • A valid photo ID must be presented upon arrival at the Mugar Memorial Library.

  • The visitor process (showing an ID, attesting to having no COVID-19 symptoms) must be completed each new day of any visit.

  • In-person research days are the first two business days of the week following the University calendar (usually Mondays & Tuesdays).  Research seating is limited, with appointments available from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm; and again from 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm (the Center closes from 12:30 pm -1:30 pm daily for lunch).

  • Requests for copies of material by in-person researchers follow the same procedure and limitations as noted above. 

To better facilitate your in-person visit, please review the collection inventory well in advance of your planned visit, to identify the archival material you wish to examine. Gotlieb Center staff require specific box numbers to retrieve researchers' selected materials prior to scheduled research appointments. Inventories can be found by searching our website by collection name.

When you have determined we hold material you wish to review, submit your request HERE, and we will respond as soon as possible.  Please do not make any travel plans until your appointment has been confirmed by a staff member.

Updated 10/20/2021.