8th Circuit Court Archives Collection Development Policy
The mission of the Eighth Circuit Court Archives is to collect, organize, preserve and make available materials related to the history of the federal courts in the United States Eighth Circuit.
IntroductionLocation and Management
The U.S. Courts Library Eighth Circuit is the repository of the Court Archives. The Collection is located in the headquarters library's Archives and Rare Books Room on the 22nd floor of the Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Courthouse in St. Louis, Missouri.
The Eighth Circuit's nine branch libraries may elect to collect historic materials on the courts and judges of their respective jurisdictions, listed below.
Currently, the Fargo and Kansas City branch libraries collect historic materials.
St. Louis Library as Archival Repository
The Archives Room in the St. Louis library has a temperature, humidity, and light controlled environment in order to preserve the life of the Archives Collection. As such, it is the official repository of archival materials for the Court of Appeals and the recommended repository for all the other federal courts in the Eighth Circuit. While courts and branch libraries may wish to collect historic materials for local access, the recommended practice is to make a copy for local collections, when feasible, and send the original material to the St. Louis library for preservation in the Court Archives.
The Court Archives has its roots in material collected by the Circuit Executive's Office. The Office retained materials generated during the planning of judicial ceremonies; videos and audio cassettes capturing judicial ceremonies and interviews; photographs, negatives, and portraits of Court of Appeals judges, and recorded proceedings, programs, and resolutions of the Eighth Circuit Judicial Conference. Since approximately 1987, the Office has also maintained a collection of current photos of each federal judge, Court of Appeals unit head, clerk of court, chief probation officer, chief pretrial services officer, and federal public defender for inclusion in the Eighth Circuit's Annual Report.
In the 1980s, the Eighth Circuit's U.S. Courts Library developed files on federal judges containing biographical sketches from various sources and newspaper and journal articles by or about the judges. In addition, the library collected books on court history and in 1981 began weekly compilations of newspaper articles concerning Eighth Circuit judges, cases, and courthouses.
During the planning of the new St. Louis federal courthouse in the 1990s, then Chief U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Richard S. Arnold designated the library as the future official repository of the Court Archives for the Court of Appeals. In 1998, the Circuit Executive transferred custody of the Court of Appeals Archives to the St. Louis headquarters library. The library moved into the new Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Courthouse in August, 2000, and the Court Archives Collection was placed in the library's temperature, humidity, and light controlled Archives and Rare Book Room.
Organization and cataloging of the Court Archives began in earnest in April, 2001. As of 2004, individual items such as books and videos are all cataloged, and work in processing the paper materials is well under way. Work on the photographs, negatives, portraits, and memorabilia will be planned.
Scope of Policy
This collection development policy governs the Court Archives in the U.S. Courts Library Eighth Circuit. While courts in the Eighth Circuit may wish to collect historic materials, they are not bound to this policy. They may, however, wish to use it as guidelines in their acquisition of historic materials.
Scope of Collection
The Court Archives will collect materials documenting the history of the federal Circuit, Court of Appeals, Bankruptcy Appellate Panel, District and Bankruptcy courts and staff in the legal jurisdictional boundaries of the United States Eighth Circuit. These materials may be created by, received by, or be about the federal courts and staff in this jurisdiction.
States, or judicial districts, falling under the jurisdiction of the Eighth Circuit have varied over time since the Circuit's establishment in 1837. For this history, see the web site of the Federal Judicial Center History Office. The current structure of the Eighth Circuit was established in 1929 as the seven states of Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
Materials may be collected in any format. Current formats include paper, newspaper, books, video recordings, audio recordings, CD-ROMs, photographs, portraits, architectural drawings, maps, and memorabilia.
Topics and Materials Collected
The categories listed below will be collected for the Court Archives. All pertain to the federal courts of the Eighth Circuit. Included are examples of what the Archives collects in those areas.
invitations; programs; recorded proceedings; proceedings transcripts in draft form and West booklets; correspondence; news and journal articles; photographs; negatives; memorabilia
Materials Not Collected
The Court Archives does not serve as a repository for Eighth Circuit federal case records. The clerks' offices of the Eighth Circuit maintain the case records and deposit non-current, official court records with the National Archives and Records Administration.
The Court Archives also does not serve as a repository for collections of judges' papers. These are more appropriately placed in manuscript repositories. For information on likely repositories, contact the Archives Librarian.
A U.S. Courts library may choose to not acquire items for the Archives which require preservation care (supplies, techniques, or environmental control) not available in the respective library. In such cases, the items may more appropriately be deposited in a local archival institution providing such preservation care.
Who May Access
The following persons may access the Court Archives: Eighth Circuit federal court staff; national federal court staff; researchers and members of the public granted access permission by the Circuit Librarian, Deputy Circuit Librarian, or the Archives Librarian.
Some materials may be restricted due to security or privacy concerns. These materials will be kept in locked archival storage and may only be accessed according to the individual item's restricted access policy.
Some archival items may be circulated to Eighth Circuit court staff with the permission of the Circuit Librarian, Deputy Circuit Librarian, or Archives Librarian. The item must be checked out using an archives circulation form. Fragile, rare, or restricted items will not circulate.