An American Political Archives Reader by Glenn Gray, Rebecca Johnson Melvin, Karen D. Paul

By Glenn Gray, Rebecca Johnson Melvin, Karen D. Paul

This publication brings jointly in a single quantity the easiest and latest scholarship on congressional collections, delivering useful details for associations constructing their political documentary assets and dealing towards larger accessibility of political documents.

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19 20 Lauren R. Brown The experience I had with Marjorie Holt and her staff, by and large a cordial and productive one, was not however entirely free of worries, difficulties, and disappointments. My observations are intended to convey a sense of this and to suggest what might be done to ensure that a congressional collection being accessioned has at least the prospect of containing documentation that is desirable and is free of boxes of unwanted material. A few facts are needed to set the scene of my work with members of Representative Holt’s staff.

There are obvious advantages in being in an active mode rather than agreeing to accept a congressional collection and then passively waiting to see what arrives at your archival doorstep. By securing access to the office and actively assembling the collection on the Hill, you are assured that the accession will have a low ratio of dross material. You have an opportunity to get acquainted with the staff that has created the files you are collecting. Questions about holes in the documentation can be addressed to that staff, and series within the collection can be well established and defined by the time the boxes arrive at your repository.

In December 1982, Representative Holt authorized the destruction of 13 early accessions into the Records Center. Also in December 1982, files described as personal Appraising and Accessioning the Papers of Marjorie S. Holt 25 records created before April 1979 were destroyed. In April 1984, parts of seven other accessions were destroyed. 5 Interestingly enough, there was clear evidence that Holt had ordered boxes to be brought back to her office in the spring of 1986, and some of this material was placed in the shipment slated for the University of Maryland.

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