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Collecting Policy

The Archives collects papers and records relating to the history of bankruptcy law in the United States. The Archives also serves as the custodian of the records of the American Law Institute. We also collect faculty papers. The University Archives manages the acuqisition and maintenance of records of Penn Law School.

The donation of other valuable legal materials to the Biddle Law Library Archives is subject to constraints on space and workflow. Please contact the department for further details.

For more information regarding the collection development policy for the National Bankruptcy Archives, please click here.

Circulation Policy

Items in the Archives do not circulate.

Research Questions

For reference assistance, please contact the Archives.

On-site Research

If you wish to come to the Archives to conduct research, you may do so free of charge. However, you must contact the department ahead of time to schedule an appointment. 

Remote Research

For patrons who can not travel to the Law School to conduct research, the Archives will assist in the identification of potentially relevant materials for photocopying. We do not transcribe, paraphrase, or otherwise interpret information for the researcher.

Research requests generally take 1-2 weeks to complete, depending on the nature of the question and the number of outsanding requests at the time of submission.

Please note that remote research requests are limited and the Archives can only handle copying/scanning requests up to 25 individual documents. If a request exceeds this number, we suggest you schedule an appointment to visit the Archives in person. 


Wash hands before touching any materials. Handle all documents with care. Patrons are asked to wear protective gloves when deemed necessary by the Archives.

Documents should be maintained in the exact order they are arranged in each file. If a document appears to be out of order, the researcher should notify the Archives staff. Do not attempt to move or rearrange documents yourself. Remove only one folder from a box at a time.

Make no marks or erasures on any document. Use the strips provided for marking pages to be copied.

Eating or drinking is not allowed in the research area.

Use pencils only, no pens or markers. Laptops are permitted.

Duplication Services

Due to special preservation issues when handling and photocopying archival material, all reproductions are made by the Archives staff. Requests for permission to have reproductions made are granted on a case-by-case basis, depending on the rules of the collection and the condition of the particular document. For further information, please contact the Archives. 

The Archives reserves the right to deny copy requests based on issues related to copyright, preservation, or other circumstances.