American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes


Access to the Archives

Use of Materials

Materials are for research or personal purposes only. Contact the Archives for permission to use Archives materials in publications. When citing materials, please include enough detail to make it possible to find the original source document in the Archives. Please credit the Archives of the American College of Surgeons.


Unless the request is brief and can be answered quickly, fees for staff time and duplication costs may apply to researchers who are not members of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). All fees are waived for members; priority of access to the Archives collections is a member benefit. The Archivist is available to answer questions about:

  • Conducting research using the ACS collections
  • The history of the College
  • The preservation of historical material
  • Donation of material to the ACS and other repositories


Your Research Visit

Research visits may be made by appointment only. Please submit a completed Researcher Registration Form and the date(s) you would like to visit.

The Archives is located at College headquarters, 633 N. Saint Clair St., Chicago, IL. Please check in at the reception desk on the 26th floor when you arrive. You will be shown to the Archives reading room. Your briefcase, backpack, and other containers will be stored while you use materials in the Archives. You will be asked to acknowledge receipt of a copy of the Research Room Rules and fill out the registration form if you have not already done so. Research assistance will be given as available by limited staff. Unprocessed materials are generally not available to researchers.

Intellectual Property

Please note that while the materials are the physical property of the Archives, intellectual property rights, including copyright, belong to the creators or their legal heirs and assignees. Copyright restrictions may apply and copyright research is the responsibility of the requestor.

Privacy and Confidentiality

Privacy protects not only good reputation, but also any personal information that individuals want to keep from being known. Confidentiality refers to private communications and is restricted to them alone, and unauthorized inquiry into the content of the communication is forbidden. Although confidential communications in the course of business may not be protected by law, fairness requires observation of the implied confidentiality.

When sensitive records are encountered by the researcher, which may have been missed by the processing archivist, the archivist may request that the researcher sign a waiver agreeing not to use or publish personal information. Such materials may need to be withdrawn from access for the lifetime of the individual whose privacy rights are breached. While some information considered confidential might assist researchers in carrying out studies that may have profound social implications, the need to protect individual rights must be honored.

Legal Researchers

College policy requires that requests from legal researchers be accompanied by the following information: Name of firm and attorney, name of the client your firm is representing in this case, whether or not your request is in connection with litigation, and, if so, the case name and jurisdiction of the litigation (e.g., Smith v. Jones, Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois).