Collection Development Policy

The principal purpose of the Jerry Bywaters Special Collections Wing of the Hamon Arts Library is to collect, preserve, provide access to, exhibit, and encourage research use of its archival materials and works of art on paper. Prior to the opening of the Hamon in 1990, SMU’s collections concerning the visual and performing arts consisted of the Jerry Bywaters, Mary McCord/Edyth Renshaw, and Paul and Viola van Katwijk collections and were housed in various campus locations. Since 1990, these “core collections” have been enriched by a number of other significant additions. The focus of the holdings is on the cultural history of the American Southwest, especially from the late nineteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries, with supporting materials on American art, theater, film, and music.

As indicated by the collection descriptions, materials are collected in a variety of formats and media. The curatorial staff of Bywaters Special Collections, in consultation with the director of the Hamon Arts Library, is responsible for the development of collections. Materials serve the research interests of faculty, students, and others affiliated with SMU as well as researchers both regionally and nationally.

Materials are acquired by donation or, in very rare instances, purchase in accordance with the collection development policies of the SMU Libraries; open collections are not accepted. Materials will not be accepted without completion of a Proffer of Gift form or equivalent approval by the SMU Office of Legal Affairs. This gift form is prepared by Bywaters Special Collections staff with the donor at the time the items are physically transferred to the Hamon or shortly thereafter. Materials that do not reflect the collecting scope of Bywaters Special Collections or that do not possess sufficient archival value may be de-accessioned, subject to the documented terms of acquisition, university regulations, and any applicable state and federal laws. Duplicate materials may be routinely discarded as well.

Within the limits imposed by available shelf space, Bywaters Special Collections maintains a collection of books, most of which are related to its archival holdings. These books are recommended for transfer to Special Collections by the Hamon’s subject librarians and accepted by the Bywaters Special Collections staff, contingent upon the availability of space. Examples of books transferred for security reasons are portfolios or oversized art books with tipped-in color plates. Books are not stored in Special Collections if they can more naturally be accommodated in Limited Access. Some materials transferred to or initially placed in Special Collections for security reasons circulate, while other materials do not. The subject librarian makes a circulation decision at the time of the transfer.