Tell the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services to Provide Level Funding for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
In a year in which natural disasters have rocked many parts of the United States, a fiscal disaster is brewing in Washington, DC, for archives, manuscripts, and records organizations nationwide. The potential result is a severe crippling of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission’s (NHPRC’s) ability to carry out its legal mandate – which in turn seriously impedes the capacity of repositories nationwide to care for our nation’s heritage and make it available for use by our citizens.
Please join the effort to ask the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Financial Services to provide level funding for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. Here’s what you can do to help avert this crisis:
If your Representative is a member of the Financial Services Subcommittee—or of the House Appropriations Committee—fax, email, or call your member to express your support for level funding for NHPRC as part of the National Archives budget. In your letter or call, address the specific benefits of NHPRC for your organization/state/users. The more your Congressperson understands that his/her constituents are affected directly, the more convincing your message will be.
Financial Services Subcommittee Members:
- Ander Crenshaw, Chairman (Florida)
- Jo Bonner (Alabama)
- Mario Diaz-Balart (Florida)
- Tom Graves (Georgia)
- Kevin Yoder (Kansas)
- Steve Womack (Arkansas)
- Jaime Herrera Beutler (Washington)
- José Serrano, Ranking Member (New York)
- Mike Quigley (Illinois)
- Marcy Kaptur (Ohio)
- Ed Pastor (Arizona)
View a list of the full House Appropriations Committee.
Find contact information for your committee member.
If your representative is not on this Subcommittee, you can still help! Send a fax or email to Subcommittee Chair Ander Crenshaw (Florida) or Ranking Member José Serrano (New York) to express your support for level funding for NHPRC.
The Council of State Archivists (CoSA), National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators (NAGARA), and Society of American Archivists are working together to develop information that archivists and constituents can use to demonstrate the value and importance of archives. A joint working group is now collecting “stories” demonstrating this value for use in advocating for archives. Ultimately these stories will be made available–along with other advocacy materials–via the groups’ websites.
The working groups seeks stories that show the importance and impact of archives rather than focusing on informational content. Some examples of stories:
- Following a 2008 accident at the Quecreek Mine in Pennsylvania, historic maps created by Pennsylvania state mine inspectors were used to identify closed tunnels where the nine miners might have taken refuge. The miners had harbored in just such a tunnel, and the archival maps led to their rescue.
- A Tallahassee high school senior used records relating to the investigation of murders at Florida State University by serial killer Ted Bundy to research a History Fair project on changes to victims’ rights laws resulting from those murders. The project won at the state level and went on to compete at the National History Fair. Spurred by this research, the student, who had previously been disinterested in school, gained a renewed interest in education, went on to complete law school, passed the Florida Bar, and is now practicing law in Florida.
- In 1950, Mary Jean Price, salutatorian of her high school, tried to enroll at her hometown college to become a teacher. She was denied access because she was an African-American and never went to college to fulfill her dream. Instead she stayed at home, helped her aging parents, got married, worked as a janitor, and buried the story. Many years later, her son was curious and pursued the story in the university’s archives. There he unearthed evidence that she was denied entrance specifically because she was an African-American. He shared that information and, as a result, 60 years later his mother was awarded an honorary degree from Missouri State University. The stories found in archives may not always be “happy,” but confirmation of the accuracy and truth of a situation was extremely important in this case.
- A woman in her seventies was attempting to locate her brother and sister with whom she had not had contact during her lifetime due to adoption. Records were located by Wyoming State Archives staff in District Court adoption files and school censuses that made it possible for a Confidential Intermediary to reunite her with her brother and sister.
Because stakeholders may be motivated by a wide range of examples, the working group seeks a wide range of stories that can be shared. Particularly needed are stories emerging from or addressing the following:
- University archives
- Tribal archives
- Religious archives
- Business archives
- Scientific or environmental uses
- Business or economic development uses
- Educational uses
- Veteran-related uses, particularly from the Viet Nam War period to date
By May 1, 2013, send your stories and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Working group members will compile the information received and will contact you if clarification or more detail is needed. Thanks for your help in advocating for archives!
Left to right: Elder Robert Dickey, Sister Brenda Dickey, Jim Corridan, Senator Hatch, Kathleen Roe, Quentin Atkinson
Each year the Council of State Archivists presents an award to an individual or organization that has made significant contributions to efforts by state and local government archives to ensure the preservation and availability of the American historical record. On January 30th, CoSA President Jim Corridan and Kathleeen Roe, Chair of the Joint Advocacy Task Force, presented the award to US Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah at his Washington, DC office. Joining Jim and Kathleen were Elder Robert and Sister Brenda Dickey of FamilySearch and Quentin Atkinson of Ancestry.com, CoSA’s Premier level corporate sponsor.
In presenting the award to Senator Orrin Hatch Jim and Kathleen cited his many contributions in drawing attention to and understanding of the importance of the history of his home state of Utah. The Senator was also recognized for his support and assistance at the national level for ensuring the survival and use of the American historical record to allow future generations to benefit from the many rich and compelling stories of the lives of the people, families and communities of this country.
The National Historic Probate Project (NHPP) is a joint effort by FamilySearch, Ancestry.com, state and local courts, and archives throughout the United States. The goal is to improve access to historic probate documents, records critical to family history research that are largely inaccessible to the public today. These records, gathered in microfilm and other formats over the last fifty years, will be digitized and made searchable. When completed, the collections will be available to archives, courts, and the public on the FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com websites.
For more information, please review the NHPP Summary Sheet.
CoSA President Jim Corridan and Kathleen Roe, chair of the Joint Advocacy Task Force, will present CoSA’s advocacy award to Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on January 30th in Washington. Senator Hatch is being recognized for his support of preserving the American historical record and ensuring its availability for use by all citizens of the United States. Pictures to follow.