Fun and practical gifts for archivists

[If you like this post, please also check out our list for 2015!]

If there’s an archivist to shop for, here is a list of ideas suggested by actual archivists:

Horn folders

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The black swan of paper creasers, this folder made from cow horn is smoother and harder than bone folders.

Passes to historical sites

Photograph by Bruce Washburn, via Flickr Creative Commons.

April 9 of next year 2015 is the 150th anniversary of General Robert E. Lee’s surrender to Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant at the McLean House, now part of Appomattox Court House National Historical Park in Virginia. An annual pass covers fees into this park and more than 2,000 other national parks and federal recreation lands.


Image source: Miami University Libraries via Flickr Creative Commons

They abate bugs and rodents, warm laps in chilly rooms, and stare – keeping visitors on their best behavior. Plus, there is never a shortage of kitties needing adoption.

Feather dusters
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Say good-bye to dust collections with ostrich feather bundles.

Microfiche necklaces

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Let these conversation starters do the networking at conferences.


Professional Cordovan Cabrio from the Stapled Clog
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Footwear favored by female processing archivists are sturdy, long-lasting, chic, and comfortable Dansko’s.


Yorkshire Gold Tea, 40-Count

Yorkshire Gold Tea is a beverage of choice among archivists.

Personalized pencils

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Where it’s pencils-only, high-quality 2B pencils in different colors work.

Fingerless gloves

Open access: Cozy cashmere mitts keep hands warm and digits free.


Layers are essential to staying warm in a cool workplace. A classic cashmere cardigan will do the job well without sacrificing a sharp, professional look.

Lap desks

Contour Lap Desk, Natural
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Perfect for laptop use and note-taking for on-the-go description and processing.

Archival fiction

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A reluctant archivist in a Russian prison during World War II is stirred by the writings in confiscated manuscripts which the government put him in charge of weeding.


Fancy hand creams and scrubs
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Hands that handle history deserve the royal treatment.

Travel mugs

18 oz. Microwavable Wide Base Ceramic Travel Mug white
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Where beverages aren’t allowed, these mugs break the rule with their sip tops and wide bottoms to avoid tipping.


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Archivists and winemakers have a lot in common, according to the description of these aptly-themed red and white wines.

Zaner-Bloser notebooks

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Proceeds of these Moleskine notebook sets benefit the care, preservation, and digitization of the Zaner-Bloser Penmanship Collection at University of Scranton.

Gift cards for coffee

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Present the plastic in coffee-themed gift card holders, such as these made from reclaimed burlap coffee bean sacks.

Basbanes books

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Author Nicholas Basbanes explores the worlds of paper, books, and those who encounter them.

Versatile coats

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Leather layers like blazer jackets can wow in the workplace and beyond year-round, and go outdoors in cooler temperatures.

Record jackets

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For the sound archivist.

Small scanners

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Chip at daunting digitization projects with an iris scan mouse and other portable scanners. They’re compatible with mobile devices and optical character recognition technology.

Microfiber cloths

They’re washable, and they don’t take fabric softeners; Microfiber cleaning cloths hold both dust and their worth as worthwhile investments.

3 thoughts on “Fun and practical gifts for archivists”

  1. Someone just pointed out to me that the 150th anniversary of the signing at Appomattox is in 2015 not 2014.

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