State Archives

Authored by: David B. Gracy , Adam D. Knowles

Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, Fourth Edition

Print publication date:  November  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781466552593
eBook ISBN: 9781315116143
Adobe ISBN:


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State archives, as state agencies, perform an administrative role in state governments in the United States, managing the full life cycle of records produced in the conduct of state government. Records managers provide a system for managing records while the documentation is fulfilling the purpose for which it was created, while archivists manage that portion of records that has enduring value. Though records of state and equivalent levels of governments prior to the establishment of the United States were produced from the founding of the colonies, the first state archives was not created until 1779, the last almost two hundred years later. The history of state archives largely is a history written since 1901. Though interest in history motivated the increase in the number of state archival agencies in the first several decades of the twentieth century, administrative justification sustains them at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

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