Access & Request Materials

Ask a Question

The Access team is available to answer questions about the RAC’s archival holdings. Our goal is to support you in connecting with the collections that will be most helpful to your research project, but we are not able to undertake archival research on your behalf.

Please send your inquiry to archive@rockarch.org.

Provide as much detailed information as possible about your research interest. An Access team member will respond to your request within 10 working days.

Use the Permission to Publish Request Form to request permission to publish or to use facsimile materials from the collections of the Rockefeller Archive Center.

If permission is granted, it is for a non-exclusive, single use of the materials in a publication, exhibit, documentary, or other medium. Any subsequent use of the materials requires a separate request for permission to publish. We do not charge a usage fee.

This form is for uses that go beyond the “fair use” provisions in US copyright law. You do not need to complete this form if you are using or citing limited quotations from RAC materials or if you are reproducing materials solely for personal or educational purposes.

The Rockefeller Archive Center does not necessarily hold copyright in and to every item in its holdings. The Rockefeller Archive Center strives to provide accurate general copyright information in our finding aids, but copyright ownership and restrictions can vary by collection and by author or creator of the material. It is the responsibility of the researcher/user of the material to make a determination of copyright and to obtain any necessary permissions prior to usage.

Plan a Research Visit

Anyone can conduct research at the RAC. If we have archival materials that can be useful to your research topic, you are welcome here.

Because of limited seating capacity, researchers need an appointment in order to conduct in-person research in the RAC’s Reading Room. Contact the RAC Access team at archive@rockarch.org to make your appointment.

You will also need to create a researcher account in RACcess, our online request and duplication management system.

Get started on your research by searching our online finding aid catalog DIMES.

As with our archival materials, Library materials are non-circulating and are only available in the RAC’s reading rooms.

For more details about the accessibility of the physical space, see our Accessibility Statement.

When We’re Open

The RAC Reading Rooms are open Monday through Friday from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm, except for designated holidays.

Inclement weather can sometimes require the RAC to close for the safety of our staff and researchers. During the winter, if ice or snow is predicted for suburban New York, it is advisable to telephone the RAC at (914) 366-6300. A recording noting a closure or delayed opening is generally posted by 7:30 a.m. If you have a scheduled research appointment, we will also do our best to email you with as much advanced notice of the closure as possible.

Amenities

Since the RAC is not located near restaurants or stores, we encourage researchers to bring their own lunches. We have a researcher lounge with a refrigerator, toaster oven, and microwave. We also provide assorted cold beverages, tea and coffee, and individually packaged snacks.

Several food delivery apps also deliver to the RAC, including UberEats, GrubHub, and DoorDash. Researchers are welcome to order lunch from those services for delivery to the RAC’s address: 15 Dayton Avenue, Sleepy Hollow New York 10591.

WiFi is available throughout the RAC.

How to Get to the RAC

By Car

The RAC is located at 15 Dayton Avenue, Sleepy Hollow, New York 10591.

By Train from New York City

The RAC is easily accessible by train from Grand Central Terminal in New York City to Tarrytown on the Metro-North Hudson Line.

The RAC provides complimentary car service transportation to and from RAC for the following trains:

  • Departs Grand Central 8:13 a.m. Arrives Tarrytown 9:07 a.m.
    • Car service leaves the Tarrytown station for the RAC promptly at 9:15 am. Driver will be holding a sign indicating which car is for the Rockefeller Archive Center.
  • Departs Tarrytown 5:42 p.m. Arrives Grand Central 6:42 p.m
    • Car service leaves the RAC for the Tarrytown train station promptly at 5:15 pm. Driver will be parked in the front circle at the main entrance to the RAC.

The train schedule may be subject to change, so be sure to check the Metro-North web site to verify departure times.

If you miss the RAC car service or take a different train, you may still go to and from the RAC via taxi or car service app such as Uber or Lyft. There is a taxi stand at the Tarrytown train station. The RAC’s address is 15 Dayton Avenue, Sleepy Hollow NY 10591.

Before Your Visit

If you’ve never been to the RAC before (or if it’s been a while and you’d like a refresher), we’ll schedule a virtual orientation which should not take more than 30 minutes. We’ll review the reading room policies and procedures, familiarize you with our facility, and chat further about your project and the archival collections.

What You Can Expect When You Get Here

For more details about the accessibility of the physical space, see our Accessibility Statement.

When you arrive on the first day of your scheduled research visit, please proceed up the stairs to the second floor. The reading rooms are at the end of the hallway.

We’re an archive of important historical materials, so we do have a few simple rules that we ask all researchers to follow when they’re in the RAC’s Reading Room:

  • Place your outerwear, bags, and other nonessential items in the lockers provided.
  • Use only pencils and laptops for notes. No pens.
  • Food, beverages, and chewing gum are not permitted.
  • Review one folder at a time and mark its place in the box with the OUT card provided
  • Items in folders should not be rearranged or removed.
  • Avoid placing other items on top of documents. Ask the desk monitor for book weights.
  • If metal fasteners need to be removed, ask the desk monitor for assistance.

The top shelf of the cart will be kept clear, and you should place the box you are actively using on the top shelf so that there is plenty of room on your table for a folder and your laptop.

Our Reading Room can be cool at times, so be sure and bring a sweater. Generally speaking, you may use a digital camera or your phone or tablet to photograph collection materials for research and educational purposes. However, the desk monitors may place some restrictions on your photography if the archival materials being handled are fragile or in poor condition.

The RAC has several microfilm reader-scanners available in our Reading Room which enable researchers to print or to save images from microfilm onto flash drives. We encourage you to bring your own flash drive if you anticipate using microfilm during your visit.

Requesting Materials at the RAC

All onsite researchers at the RAC must have a confirmed appointment and have created a researcher account in RACcess, our online request and duplication management system, prior to your arrival.

Before your visit, we recommend that you select an initial group of materials that we can have ready for you on your arrival. This can be done through the RAC’s online finding aid catalog DIMES or the online Library materials catalog. Once you find an item you want to request, add it to your list and then submit a request to view the materials in our reading room by 5:00 pm Eastern time the business day prior to your appointment day. Be sure and indicate the correct date of your first appointment day in your request.

  • We deliver up to 10 items at a time. If archival containers are too large to fit all 10 items on a cart, we’ll keep some items back and deliver them to you at the next delivery time.
  • We will only keep up to 10 items on one cart per person in the reading room at a time due to space limitations.
  • The top shelf of the cart will be kept clear, and you should place the box you are actively using on the top shelf so that there is plenty of room on your table for a folder and your laptop.
  • Some archival materials are stored in offsite locations and may take up to 48 hours (2 full business days) to retrieve.
  • Oversized materials such as posters, maps, and architectural drawings cannot be brought safely to the reading rooms. Such materials will be pulled for researcher review in another space in the RAC building and will be coordinated with a RAC staff member.
  • Digitized audiovisual materials are accessible in our Reading Rooms through the RAC’s Virtual Vault. Audiovisual materials that are not yet digitized will need to be reviewed by the Audiovisual Archivist to determine if there are any preservation issues in providing access. It may take up to 8 hours (2 full business days) to complete this review.

We have scheduled materials delivery times based on the following schedule.

  • The RAC Reading Rooms are open to researchers from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.
  • Researchers are responsible for requesting that the Reading Room desk monitor stage the next 10 items for retrieval.
  • If you believe you will need fresh materials at the next delivery time, we recommend that you proactively work with the desk monitor to stage your next selections after each new delivery so that you do not have to wait for a later delivery time. We will not do special pulls outside of scheduled delivery times.
  • We do not deliver materials between 11:30 am and 1:30 pm so that researchers and RAC staff alike can enjoy their lunch hours and so that we can prepare for the 1:30 pm delivery.
Materials Delivery Time Deadline to Move Requests into To Be Paged Queue
9:30 am (material available on arrival) 5:00 pm the previous business day
10:30 am 10:00 am
11:30 am 11:00 am
1:30 pm 1:00 pm
2:30 pm 2:00 pm
3:30 pm 3:00 pm
4:30 pm (last delivery of the day) 4:00 pm

Duplication Services

The RAC offers digitization services to both our onsite and virtual or offsite users.

To get started, you will need to create a user account in RACcess, the RAC’s online request and duplication management system. Once you’ve created your account, duplication requests can be made directly through your account or from our DIMES online catalog’s My List page, which connects to your account.

Digitization requests are generally processed on a first-come, first-served basis. The RAC endeavors to fulfill all digitization requests within 90 days. However, a request may take longer depending on the volume of materials being requested and whether additional handling is necessary due to the original item’s condition or format. We do not do rush orders.

Please note that the RAC may decline to copy certain materials that in its judgment may suffer damage due to the handling necessary for digitization. Any materials with serious preservation concerns will be evaluated and may require us to use an outside digitization vendor.

Fees and Limitations

RAC duplication request fees and limitations are based on the item you have identified through our DIMES online catalog, usually a file (regardless of the number of pages or folders associated with the file), an oversized flat file item (such as a map or blueprint), or an audiovisual item. Each item requested constitutes a “transaction” for digitization, regardless of page count.

The RAC charges a flat fee of $25.00 per transaction. We do not charge for materials that have already been digitized.

Users will be billed for each transaction as it is completed. If you have submitted multiple digitization transactions, we will bill and deliver each transaction as it completed to ensure that we can process all requests as efficiently as possible.

Users are limited to requesting 20 transactions per calendar year. We encourage you to consult with an archivist at archive@rockarch.org to assist you in prioritizing your transaction requests prior to ordering.

Audiovisual materials

  • Already digitized audiovisual files are available for download by onsite users at the RAC through our Virtual Vault. These files will be delivered electronically to offsite users, unless otherwise arranged. The RAC does not create DVD or CD copies.
  • If access files currently do not exist, audiovisual items must be sent to an outside digitization vendor, and the user will be charged the vendor cost in addition to the $25.00 transaction fee. This process could take up to six months to complete. Please contact us at archive@rockarch.org for further details, including time and cost estimates.
  • Higher-resolution audiovisual files are to be arranged with the RAC. Please contact us at archive@rockarch.org for further information on time and cost estimates.

Oversized flat file items.

  • The RAC can digitize individual oversized flat file items (maps, blueprints, posters, etc.) up to 34 inches by 24 inches (34” x 24”) in size.
  • All larger sizes must be sent to an outside digitization vendor, and the user will be charged the vendor cost in addition to the $25.00 transaction fee. This process could take up to six months to complete. Please contact us at archive@rockarch.org for further details, including time and cost estimates.

Publication quality individual pages or photographic images.

  • Users requesting a high-resolution, publication quality scan of an individual page or photographic image may make such requests though their RACcess account and then must follow up with an email to archive@rockarch.org that includes details of the specific image being requested and the resolution requirements.
  • Because such requests require special handling, you will be charged $25.00 per image with a limit of 20 items.
  • Please consult with an archivist at archive@rockarch.org with any questions.

Citations

When citing archival materials at the RAC, you should include the following information which represents the basic intellectual hierarchy of the archival record and should be sufficient to locate most documents:

  • Title or description of document
  • Date of document
  • Author of document if known
  • Title of file
  • Collection title
  • Our institutional name: Rockefeller Archive Center

For larger and more complex collections, consider including the following additional information that reflects organizational file groupings or hierarchy within the records when you see it in the archival description:

  • Series (name and/or number)
  • Record Group (name and/or number)
  • Subgroup (name and/or number)

The “Cite” button in the RAC’s DIMES online finding aid catalog can be used to export relevant citation information for a file unit.

Since box numbers and folder numbers are not unique permanent identifiers, they are not reliable for citation purposes and should not be used as part of a citation.

It is the responsibility of researchers to collect the information necessary to create a proper citation while research is being conducted. The RAC’s staff cannot do this work for you.