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Archives and Special Collections

The Archives and Special Collections Department of Biddle Law Library preserves and provides access to the American Law Institute (ALI) archives, the National Bankruptcy Archives (NBA), and Penn Carey Law historic records.

Welcome to the Reporter's Papers Resource Guide

The Biddle Archives and Special Collections Department serves as an official repository for the permanent records of the American Law Institute [ALI]. Reporter's papers can be fundamental to documenting the historical development of the ALI and papers offer insight into the history and operation of the ALI that otherwise may be lost by relying only on official administrative records. They reveal professional interests and opinions that frequently clarify matters mentioned in the official records of the central administration. Reporter's papers document the intellectual process of the individual or group of Reporters as it relate to their work on ALI initiatives. 

In addition, Reporter's, regardless of format, help document the individual’s career, their research discoveries or projects, and their contributions to the legal profession.  

Collecting Reporter's Papers

This page is under construction - please check back at a later date for more information. 

Archives and Special Collections Department staff will advise Reporters to organize and arrange their records in a way that best suits their work and needs. As much as possible, materials, folders, and boxes should be clearly labeled with dates, events, and names with an accompanying inventory. The archives department staff can consult with Reporters to assist with the initial arrangement and transfer process. Reporters can send their records to the archives at any point during their tenure as an ALI Reporter.  

Records can be donated in digital or paper-based formats. Reporters are encouraged not to digitize or scan their records, rather, we recommend faculty to spend their time organizing and labeling their work. More information on how Reporter's can transfer digital records can be found in the Archives and Special Collections Department Digital Records Transfer Guidelines.  

Reporters will be asked to sign an agreement, a Deed of Gift, finalizing the donation of the records to the Archives and Special Collections Department. This document will legally transfer the ownership and rights of the records to the ALI archives. Archives staff will work with Reporters to set any necessary access restrictions or special conditions required for future access and use of the collection by researchers. 

Contact points 

  • New Reporters will be introduced to the archives via our outreach brochure with links to online resources. 

  • This includes all Reporters or other group members with limited appointments. 

  • The Archives department will work with ALI staff to send out an annual email to remind faculty about record donations/transfers. 

  • When possible, Reporters will be contacted by the archives six months prior to their project completion, or departure from the ALI project, regarding donating their papers to the archives. 

Collections at the Archives and Special Collections Department are made discoverable online via publicly accessible finding aids and made accessible to all researchers onsite in the Biddle Law Library Reading Room. Reporters should express any specific privacy concerns or access restrictions to their records when working with archives staff to complete the Deed of Gift paperwork.  

In general, Reporters papers will be considered closed to public research until the archives staff has had a chance to review the material. Some exceptions may apply to this policy. 

Researcher quotes: 

"The archives of the American Law Institute at the Biddle Law Library are an extraordinary treasure trove! Thanks to the excellent cataloguing work of the Biddle librarians, I was able to see from the comprehensive online finding aids that there was a great deal of material from the ALI’s work with the Rockefeller Foundation, which supported a number of its projects. Largely on the basis of that material, I was able to write an article (forthcoming in the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review) demonstrating that the Model Penal Code—and thus the many areas of American criminal law influenced by it—was the result of much greater collaboration between the Foundation and the ALI than had ever been understood. This and many other stories, the stories of how so many of our laws and ideas about law came to be, are just sitting in these archives. I implore researchers to spend more time unearthing them! (I myself will be going back in the next few weeks.) We can’t get a full picture of American law without these letters, minutes, drafts, and reports, and it’s vital that these archives continue to be used, maintained, and expanded."

~ Professor Daniel Friedman, Visiting Assistant Professor, Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, 2024