Donation is the life-blood of the HMRC. We actively seek new material and work with donors to ensure that the Collection's margin of excellence is enhanced. We review all offers of gifts, and are particularly interested in saving unique sound recordings, notably in the areas of ethnomusicology, speeches, and readings, as well as in more conventional areas of music and radio. The presence of the Center for American Music in the School of Music naturally provides us with a strong interest in American music (with an emphasis on Texas and neighboring states, and on the output of small recording companies).
Since the collection holds the majority of the regular commercial recordings issued in the U.S.A. from 1900 to 1960, and our resources of space and staff are limited, we cannot accept everything we are offered. Factors that bear on selection decisions include the condition of the material and whether it will build on existing strengths or plug gaps. Offers from individuals, institutions, and businesses are considered. Continuing commitments are entered into only in special circumstances.
Surplus material (chiefly duplicate copies of commercial recordings) is disposed of by sealed bid offers, and by inclusion in occasional library book sales.