This is an user's guide to archives outside of New York University Libraries. This is the definition of archives from the Society of American Archivists (SAA):
"1. Materials created or received by a person, family, or organization, public or private, in the conduct of their affairs and preserved because of the enduring value contained in the information they contain or as evidence of the functions and responsibilities of their creator, especially those materials maintained using the principles of provenance, original order, and collective control; permanent records. – 2. The division within an organization responsible for maintaining the organization's records of enduring value. – 3. An organization that collects the records of individuals, families, or other organizations; a collecting archives. – 4. The professional discipline of administering such collections and organizations. – 5. The building (or portion thereof) housing archival collections. – 6. A published collection of scholarly papers, especially as a periodical." Richard Pearce-Moses. "Archives." A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology. SAA, 2005.
This guide focuses on the first three definitions and specially excludes the sixth, with some necessary material on four and five. It is to help you identify and locate -- not necessarily in that order -- archival collections relevant to your research. It is not a list of recommended archives and users should keep in mind that archival practices vary widely. It is your responsibility as a researcher to understand and follow the specific guidelines and practices of the specific archive. Establishing a good working relationship with an archive is a very fruitful and rewarding process, and has long-term benefits for both the scholars and the archivists. Enjoy your research.
Andrew H. Lee