Collection Development Policy


Sherman Library is a research library focused on the history of the Pacific Southwest – including California, Arizona, Nevada, and adjoining areas of northern Mexico. The Library’s collections emphasize the dramatic growth and transformation of the Pacific Southwest since 1850. Sherman Library acquires, organizes, and preserves books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, and other historical materials.  The Library serves all segments of the research community, specifically scholars using original materials. The Library is also committed to creating public programs, such as book talks, lectures, and exhibits that highlight regional history.


The core of Sherman Library’s archival collections are the papers of Moses Hazeltine Sherman, records of companies Sherman financed, and the papers of his business associates.  Sherman had a varied career that included working as a teacher, government official, real estate investor, railroad developer, and steamship company official.  Sherman’s business interests ranged across Arizona, Southern California, and northern Mexico. Sherman’s career provides the general focus for Sherman Library’s collection areas, which concentrates on the development and change to the Pacific Southwest starting in the American period. Specifically, Sherman Library seeks to preserve materials relating to land development, urban and suburban development, transportation systems, mineral rights, and water use.  The library also seeks to preserve general historical materials about Orange County, CA., especially Newport Beach.  Finally, Sherman Library holds the historical records of Sherman Library & Gardens.

Types of Materials

Sherman Library collects archival materials in a variety of formats, including:

  • Textual records
  • Photographs
  • Maps
  • Graphic materials, such posters
  • Ephemera

Considerations in Accepting Donations

Before accepting donations the Library Director will consider:

  • Does the collection fall within the collecting scope.
  • Does the library have adequate space and resources to adequately preserve and make the materials available to the public.
  • Does the material come with onerous restrictions or expectations.  Factors that may be considered include unusual access restrictions that limit public use or expectations of processing or scanning beyond available resources.

What the Library Does Not Collect

Sherman Library does not collect materials that are out of our stated geographic or subject collecting areas.  As a general rule, Sherman Library does not seek architectural records, motion pictures and video or electronic records, unless these materials come with adequate resources to preserve and make them available for research.


Material selected to be deaccessioned may be returned to the donor (based on donor agreements), transferred to a more appropriate repository, or discarded.

Consideration to take into account before deaccessioning any collection include:

  • Does the collection fall within the library’s collecting emphasis.
  • Are there any restrictions on the materials imposed by the donor
  • Are copies of the material available at other research institutions.
  • Has the material deteriorated in such a way that it cannot be reproduced or is beyond being useful due to its condition?
  • Have the materials been subjected to poor environmental conditions, resulting in mold, water damage, fire damage, or show evidence of being exposed to rodents/pests?