About the National Archives

Archives History Sources

Online Resources on the History of the National Archives

Publications:

Guardian of Heritage: Essays on the History of the National Archives; Smithsonian Institution Press (June 1985)

Gustafson, Milton O. "The Empty Shrine: The Transfer of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to the National Archives" The American Archivist 39:3 (July 1976) 271-285.

Prologue Articles:

Our Story (Summer 2009) On June 19, 1934, the National Archives was born. Seventy-five years later it has grown into the nation's record.

The NHPRC: Extending the Archives' Reach (Summer 2009) Kathleen Williams traces the 75-year history of the National Archives' grant-making arm.

Shaping the National Archives (Winter 2009) Greg Bradsher recounts how Wayne Grover, the third Archivist of the United States, placed the building blocks of the agency as it is known today.

Challenges: Those We Met, Those We Face (Winter 2008) The Archivist looks at the road ahead for the National Archives on the eve of its 75th anniversary.

Escorting a Presidency into History (Winter 2008) When a President leaves office, the National Archives is standing by to take custody of his records, which will help determine how history treats him.

FDR, Archivist: The Shaping of the National Archives (Winter 2006) In the spring of 1934, FDR took a keen interest in the newly established National Archives.

Secrecy and Salesmanship in the Struggle for NARA's Independence (Spring 2005) Robert Warner, sixth Archivist of the United States, recounts the steps toward an independent National Archives in the 1980s.

Creating the National Archives (Summer 2004) Seventy years ago, on June 19, 1934, FDR signed into law "an Act to establish a National Archives of the United States Government."

Construction Projects Now Under Way Will Protect Records of the Past . . . And of the Future (Spring 2003) The National Archives and Records Administration is upgrading its facilities to better preserve the records and serve our customers.

Historic Murals Conservation at National Archives Building (Spring 2003) Barry Faulkner's depiction of the presentations of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution will light up the Rotunda after major restoration work.

Rotunda Reopening Launches New Era for National Archives (Summer 2003) The Charters of Freedom return to public display, and the National Archives Experience gets ready to take off.

Fort Archives: The National Archives Goes to War (Summer 2003) In wartime Washington, a young agency proves its worth in the drive for victory and wins over skeptics who question its value.

Renewing the Spirit of Independence (Fall 2003) Celebrates the return of the Charters of Freedom, the reopening of the Rotunda of the National Archives Building, and the first phase of the National Archives Experience.

A New Era Begins for the Charters of Freedom (Fall 2003) Conservators reveal details of their work on our founding documents.

A Top-to-Bottom Renovation for the National Archives Building (Fall 2003) The grand structure gets an upgrade after 68 years.

Travels of the Charters of Freedom (Winter 2002) Our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, had a long and sometimes perilous existence before being entrusted to the National Archives in 1952.

Further Reading:

Flippin, Percy Scott, The Archives of the United States Government: A Documentary History [Washington DC: Division of Research, National Archives, 1938].

Gondos, Victor, J. Franklin Jameson and the birth of the National Archives, 1906-1926 [Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1981].

Jones, H. G., The Records of a Nation: Their Management, Preservation, and Use. [New York: Atheneum,1969].

McCoy, Donald R., The National Archives: America's Ministry of Documents, 1934-1968. [Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1978].

Viola, Herman J., The National Archives of the United States. [New York: H.N. Abrams, 1984].

Warner, Robert Mark, Diary of a Dream: a History of the National Archives Independence Movement, 1980-1985. [Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1995].

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