The Thomas J. and Michele Ridge Collection at Mercyhurst University covers the timeline of their years in public service. It consist of primary documents, records, and photographs accumulated of the course of their lifetime of public service, including governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (1995-2001), and eventually his artifacts from the Department of Homeland Security where he served as the first secretary of the agency. The materials in the collection were selected for their permanent, long-term preservation are specifically based on their enduring cultural, historical, and evidentiary value. The archival records in this collection are normally unpublished and almost always unique, unlike books or magazines for which many identical copies exist.
Governor and Mrs. Ridge’s papers incorporate subjects of research interest regarding Erie, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and national and international topics. These subjects range from home rule, welfare reform, education, Americans with Disabilities Act and balanced budget amendments to criminal justice, white collar crime, merit selection of judges, international drug control, and include creation of the Department of Homeland Security.