Conducting Research

Who may use the Library's collections?

The Eisenhower Presidential Library is open to everyone. Research requests can be made by mail, e-mail, or telephone. On-site researchers under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult researcher. Email eisenhower.library@nara.gov, call 785-263-6700 or 877 RING IKE, or use the Contact Form at the bottom of the page.

What are the research room hours?

The research room is open Monday through Friday, 9:15 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 12:45 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. It is closed on all federal holidays and may close at 12:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Eve, Christmas Eve, and New Year's Eve.

When can I request boxes?

You may contact the archives staff by phone or email to request your first 16 boxes. After arrival, you can request boxes from 9:15 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. No requests will be accepted between 11:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. Boxes requested after 3:30 p.m. will be pulled beginning at 9:15 a.m. the following business day.

How do I prepare for a research visit to the Library?

Researchers should submit a Researcher Application Form and an Oral History and Copyright Agreement form, and notify the library staff by email or telephone of their research topic and travel plans as far in advance as possible.

Prospective researchers are strongly encouraged to contact the library for information about materials available on their topic. The Library's finding aids and subject guides are also available to aid in research preparation. Upon arrival at the library, each researcher will be assigned an archivist who will assist in obtaining relevant holdings. Researchers will also be briefed on research room procedures. It is preferable to arrange an appointment time with the interviewing archivist prior to arrival.

What are the research room procedures?

Persons wishing to examine the historical materials in the library must use them in the research room. Researchers much register once each day. Researchers should check in with security on the first floor of the library. No food or drinks are allowed in the research room.

Before research can begin, researchers will be asked to produce photo identification (drivers license, passport, student identification card) and complete a brief application form. Once orientation is complete, a research card valid for 3 years will be issued.

Researchers will sign and be responsible for archival materials until they are returned to a staff member. Researchers examining loose, unbound papers and records are required to use materials from only one folder at a time and replace the materials in the same order as received. If researchers find items that appear to be misfiled, they should bring them to the attention of an archivist.

Pencils and laptop computers may be used for taking notes. Tape recorders may be used provided that permission is given by the research room staff and that the use will not disrupt reference activities.

If researchers need more material or wish to consult with an archivist, they should inform the research room staff. Researchers leaving the building for the day should tell the staff which materials to hold for them and which to refile.

Can I use electronic and recording devices?

The use of digital cameras and cell phones for taking photographs is allowed without a flash. Tripods are allowed in the research room. Cell phone calls must be placed and received outside the research room and staff areas; usage is allowed in the library lobby and outside the building. Document scanners will be approved by the supervisory archivist on a case-by-case basis.

Can I get reproductions of materials?

The library has equipment for making photocopies and sound recording reproductions of materials in its holdings. Photographic services are available upon request. A current fee schedule for reproduction services is available from the library upon request. A self-service photocopy machine is available for use by researchers in the research room.

The National Archives sets a standard fee for mail order reproduction services. Please review the reproductions fee schedule for current fees. Photocopies are sent by regular mail. Advance payment is required for large orders. Alternate shipping arrangements (i.e., FedEx) can be made at the researcher's expense. When ordering photocopies by mail, researchers should be as specific as possible with regard to their request. The library staff can neither undertake extensive searches nor segregate items unrelated to a researcher's topic. The staff will photocopy the entire contents of any folder the researcher cites from a finding aid.

The Eisenhower Presidential Library accepts most major credit cards or personal checks as payment for copies. Checks should be made payable to the Eisenhower Presidential Library. Remittances received from outside the U.S. must be made by international money orders payable in U.S. dollars or by VISA, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover (Novus).

How are records opened for research?

The records of the library must be systematically arranged, preserved, reviewed and described by archivists before they can be made available for use by researchers. Some of the collections opened for research will have information withdrawn from the open files.

What kind of information is restricted?

Materials in the Library are available on an equal basis to all researchers. However, researchers will find portions of some processed manuscript collections closed either in accordance with restrictions imposed by the donors or by government regulations. Furthermore, some manuscript collections described in the list of holdings have not yet been processed and opened to research, while other collections have been only partially processed and opened.

General categories of material closed at present include papers containing information the disclosure of which would endanger the nation's security or injure living persons. Descriptions of restricted documents may be found on "withdrawal sheets" in the file folders from which such material has been removed. Researchers having questions about the availability of specific collections should write to the library.

Some portions of oral history interviews are also closed in accordance with the wishes of the donors. When an entire interview is closed, or advance permission is required in order to use transcripts, the restriction is noted in the list of oral history transcripts. Researchers desiring to use transcripts should write to the library and inquire about specific restrictions.

Under the provisions of Executive Order 12958 as Amended by Executive Order 13292, researchers may request a mandatory declassification review of security classified materials in the custody of the library. Such requests must be made in writing and must describe the material to be reviewed in sufficient detail to enable the library staff to identify it. The library will provide instructions concerning procedures to be followed in initiating requests for mandatory review of classified materials.

Provisions of the Freedom of Information Act are not applicable to donated historical materials accessioned by the library. However, the library does have in its custody a small quantity of federal records, portions of which are closed by statute or agency restrictions, to which the FOIA does apply. Persons wishing to initiate requests for access to closed federal records under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act should consult with the library staff.

How do I cite material from the Library?

There is no universal format for citing materials from this archival depository. While the library cannot require the use of a standard form of footnote by researchers in their writings, it is important that citations clearly indicate the location of items. This will help the researcher who may want to use the material again, the library staff who may be asked for cited documents, and other researchers.

A citation should identify completely the particular document used by type, name of sender and recipient, date, file folder title, box number, series (if applicable), collection, and the library. Other information may be given, but citations should be kept simple.

The following fictitious citations may be helpful:

Memorandum of conversation, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John Foster Dulles, and Harold Macmillan, June 22, 1958, DDE Diary - June 1958 (4), Box 30, DDE Diaries Series, Papers of Dwight D. Eisenhower as President, 1953-61, Eisenhower Presidential Library.

Christian A. Herter to Dwight D. Eisenhower, March 31, 1959, Great Britain 1959 (3), Box 22, International Series, Papers of Dwight D. Eisenhower as President, 1953-61, Eisenhower Presidential Library.

Dwight D. Eisenhower to Richard B. Russell, September 27, 1959, Official File 142-A-5-A, Box 732, White House Central Files, Eisenhower Presidential Library.

Bryce N. Harlow to Dwight D. Eisenhower, August l8, 1954, in folder for speech

of August 19, 1954, Box 4, Speech Series, Records of Bryce N. Harlow, Eisenhower Presidential Library.

George A. Jacoby to Howard L. Bevis, June 26, 1957, Letters to Corporations and Editors, Box 19, General Subject Series, Records of the President's Committee on Scientists and Engineers, Eisenhower Presidential Library.

William P. Rogers to Dwight D. Eisenhower, May 20, 1959, Box 8, Chronological Series, William P. Rogers Papers, Eisenhower Presidential Library.

How does the copyright law affect research?

The United States Copyright Law (PL. 94-553) extends statutory rights of authorship to unpublished works, which were previously protected by literary property rights under common law. Such works do not have to be registered with the Copyright Office to receive protection under the law. In general, the law provides copyright protection for the term of the life of the author plus fifty years. Unpublished and uncopyrighted works created before January 1, 1978, are covered as of that date by this same provision and are protected until at least December 31, 2002.

The Copyright Law provides for "fair use" of copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright holder. Fair use encompasses scholarship and research, although the extent of such use is bounded by limitations on quotation and reproduction. The library's staff cannot interpret for researchers the limits of "fair use"; if a researcher has any doubt that his or her intended use of historical materials is consonant with current legal interpretations of fair use, he or she should contact an attorney specializing in copyright law.

Although a large portion of the historical materials listed in this catalog has been donated to the National Archives and Records Administration, please bear in mind that conveyance of such materials as physical property does not automatically carry with it assignment of copyright. Ordinarily, instruments of gift conveying title to the National Archives and Records Administration contain a clause specifying either that copyright in the literary or artistic property of the collection's creator has been retained by the creator or the creator's literary heirs, or that it has been assigned to the people of the United States, thus placing such material in the so-called "public domain".

It is important to bear in mind that a collection of historical materials may contain the literary or artistic property of persons other than the collection's creator. Consequently, clauses of instruments of gift governing copyright apply only to the literary and artistic property of the individual around whom the collection was created.

John Doe, or his heirs, may own copyright in John Doe's writings found within the Papers of John R. Doe, but copyright in incoming correspondence from Andrew Smith found within the John Doe Papers would be controlled by Andrew Smith or his literary heirs unless such copyright has been assigned to the public domain. The library will in some cases be able to provide information about the copyright status of such "other party" literary or artistic property, but in many instances researchers will have to investigate such matters independently.

Researchers should note that, in as much as the library owns no copyright in the historical materials it possesses, the library has no authority to grant permission to publish copyrighted materials by signing releases or other such documents. The library's role in such matters is to identify, when such information is available, the owners of copyright in order that researchers who wish to publish copyrighted materials may seek permission to do so.

Researchers with specific questions about the copyright law should obtain legal advice. Please note that federal employees are not authorized to provide guidance with regard to copyright laws. The copyright law does not apply to material in the public domain or material produced by government employees in the course of their official duties.

Are travel grants available?

Travel Grants may be available through the Eisenhower Foundation. 

The Eisenhower Foundation's Host Committee

The Eisenhower Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports the mission of the Eisenhower Presidential Library. The Eisenhower Foundation has a host committee that is pleased to offer assistance to researchers during their stay in Abilene. 

Contact the Eisenhower Foundation for host committee assistance with the following: 

• Pick up or return to nearby airports 

• Use of the foundation’s bicycles for local transportation

• Assistance in making appointments with doctors, dentists, optometrists, etc. during your time in Abilene

Please contact us before or after you arrive, if we may help facilitate your research visit to the Eisenhower Presidential Library. We hope you have a pleasant stay in Abilene.

Where can I stay and eat in Abilene?

Please visit the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau website for information on lodging and dining in the Abilene area.

Brown Bag Lunch Lecture Series

While you are at the Eisenhower Presidential Library conducting research, we invite you to consider taking part in our Brown Bag Lunch Lecture Series. This program provides an informal setting where writers, graduate students, historians and others can talk about their research projects. Presentations should be no longer than 20 minutes. If you are interested, please ask the archivist assisting you to contact the lecture series staff in advance of your visit as schedule space is limited.

Classified Materials and Mandatory Review Requests

Useful Research Links

Last Revised Date
October 29, 2019