NARA’s 75th Anniversary – Discovering Our Own Records

Today’s post is written by Alan Walker, a processing archivist who works with civilian textual records.

It’s NARA’s 75th Anniversary season, a perfect time to reflect on the impact which the National Archives has made on archival theory and practice in the United States. Spanning the continuum of archival administration, records appraisal, scheduling, accessioning, disposal, holdings maintenance, arrangement and description, preservation, and reference services, the many disciplines on which the National Archives has been, and continues to be, influential is astounding.

In celebration of this rich legacy, the Civilian Records Processing Team at Archives II has worked over the past year to identify, rebox, and describe some 238 cubic feet of textual records pertaining to the establishment of the National Archives and the activities of its distinguished staff. Included among these records (in Record Group 64) are records of historian J. Franklin Jameson’s efforts to promote the establishment of a National Archives; the correspondence and subject files of Archivists of the United States Robert D. W. Connor, Solon J. Buck, Wayne C. Grover, Robert H. Bahmer, and James B. Rhoads;  records relating to the establishment of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library; and records relating to early efforts to classify archival records by using  library cataloging systems as a template. Here are some specific series which you might find to be of interest:

Great Places to Start

A1 Entry 32 (ARC 3758140) – Office of the Archivist: Central Files, 1935-1944

A1 Entry 1 (ARC 654329) – Office of the Archivist: [Subject] Classified Files, 1944-1959

Establishment of the National Archives

A1 Entry 3A (ARC 3730459) – Records of J. Franklin Jameson Relating to the National Archives Movement, 1910-1927

A1 Entry 3B (ARC 3834463) – Reading Files of R. D. W. Connor, 1935-1940

A1 Entry 4 (ARC 656322) – Correspondence of J. Franklin Jameson Relating to the Appointment of the First Archivist of the United States, 1934-1935

Annual and Other Periodic Reports

A1 Entry 10 (ARC 3968740) – Annual Reports of the Archivist of the United States, 1935-1949

A1 Entry 11 (ARC 3978777) – Annual and Quarterly Reports of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, 1940-1949

A1 Entry 14 (ARC 3887312) – Periodic Reports of Operating Units, 1935-1968

A1 Entry 15 (ARC 3997657) – Disposal Reports Submitted to Congress, 1947-1969

Legislative History

A1 Entry 21 (ARC 4159584) – Office of the Archivist: Legal Opinions Files, 1937-1943

A1 Entry 22 (ARC 4159588) – Office of the Archivist, Executive Officer: Legislative Reference Files, 1935-1942

A1 Entry 30 (ARC 5686679) – Office of the Archivist, Director of Archival Service: Records Relating to a Historical Study of Government Records Disposal Authorizations, 1935-1937

Franklin D. Roosevelt Library

A1 Entry 52 (ARC 4477059) – Office of the Archivist: Consolidated Files of R. D. W. Connor Relating to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, 1937-1941

A1 Entry 53 (ARC 4477062) – Office of the Archivist: Records of Solon J. Buck Relating to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, 1941-1948

A1 Entry 54 (ARC 4477108) – Office of the Archivist: General Records Relating to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, 1939-1957

Cataloging of Archival Records

A1 Entry 37 (ARC 4516104) – Division of Cataloging: Bibliography on Cataloging Matters, 1936-1939

A1 Entry 39 (ARC 4516125) – Division of Cataloging: Authority Lists, 1936-1941

A1 Entry 40 (ARC 4517744) – Division of Cataloging: List of Accession Cataloging Assignments, 1935-1941

A1 Entry 115 (ARC 4507425) – Division of Cataloging: Records Relating to the Catalog Survey, 1936-1939

A1 Entry 116 (ARC 4508319) – Division of Cataloging: General Records, 1935-1941

A1 Entry 119 (ARC 4504611) – Division of Classification: Records Relating to the Publication of the First Preliminary Inventory (pertaining to War Industries Board Records), 1939-1941

A1 Entry 159 (ARC 4521087) – Division of Cataloging: Official Catalog, ca. 1938-1940

Accessioning of Records

A1 Entry 31 (ARC 4478076) – Division of Accessions: General Files of Memorandums Sent and Received, 1935-1938

A1 Entry 33 (ARC 4478093) – Division of Accessions: Records Relating to Surveys of Motion Pictures, Photographs and Sound Recordings, 1935-1937

A1 Entry 34 (ARC 4478137) – Division of Accessions: Subject Files, 1935-1938

We will continue to post updates on new series that we process in Record Group 64. Stay tuned; there’s lots more NARA history to discover!

3 thoughts on “NARA’s 75th Anniversary – Discovering Our Own Records

  1. Alan- thanks for putting this together.

    My Dad was a great farmer but a terrible gardener. Likewise “Nartians” are pretty good at external Federal records management and other agency records we accession into the Archives but we sometimes need to be reminded of the requirements to manage the records we create ourselves. My thanks to NARA’s own internal records management program for helping us practice what we preach!

  2. Thanks, Alan. Looks like interesting material on the establishment of the National Archives.

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