FAQs for Alumni and the General Public

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What material is considered to be “private papers” of former students?
Generally, private papers are records created and/or in the possession of a former student or his/her heirs, and may include:

  • diaries, journals and correspondence describing experiences at University of Toronto or education prior to enrolling at the U of T.
  • research materials including notes etc.
  • photographs of the classmates, colleagues, faculty, buildings and equipment, events such as convocations, parties and other social events, athletic events, etc.
  • drafts of reports, or papers submitted as part of course curriculum
  • oral history interviews
  • biographical information including curriculum vitae

For members of the general public who wish to donate private papers of a former faculty member please see Gifts in kind of private papers from Current or Retired Faculty

2. If I choose to donate my or my relatives private papers can I limit access to them?
Every private donor has the right to impose reasonable restrictions on his/her papers to protect confidentiality as determined through mutual agreement between the University and the donor. The specific restrictions are determined at the time of donation, are for a fixed term and are specified in a formal Deed of Gift.

3. Can I borrow the records after I donate the papers?
No. Once the Deed of Gift is signed, the records become the property of the University of Toronto Archives. Photocopies of selected records may be provided free of charge on a one time only basis.

4. Can I receive a tax receipt for my donation?
Yes. All gifts are evaluated by external appraisers for the fair market value. Completion of a Deed of Gift is required. A tax receipt for the year in which the gift is made will be issued by the University of Toronto.

5. Do I have to pay for the appraisal?
Currently, the University of Toronto Library pays for the appraisal. In exceptional cases, the University of Toronto Library may partner with the donor to cover the cost of the appraisal.

6. How long will it take to receive my tax receipt?
Every attempt is made to issue a tax receipt for the fair market value of the Gift in Kind in time to file for the tax year in which the gift was made. For example for a Deed of Gift signed in June, 2005, the donor should receive a tax receipt from the University by March of the following year. In order to do so, a Deed of Gift must be signed by September 1 of the year in which the gift is made. Gifts in kind that are to be certified under the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board (CCPERB) may take up to 2 years from the date of the Deed of Gift.

7. Will material that is weeded by staff of the University Archives be returned to me?
The fate of weeded material is specified in the Deed of Gift. It can be returned to you or it can be destroyed.

8. Should I organize the papers before I make the donation?
Part of the University Archives’ obligations is to arrange and describe the papers in preparation for monetary evaluation. University Archives staff are trained specifically to preserve the original order of the papers so we recommend that donors leave the papers in their original containers.