(also archive), n. ~ 1. Materials created or received by a person, family, or organization, public or private, in the conduct of their affairs and preserved because of the enduring value contained in the information they contain or as evidence of the functions and responsibilities of their creator, especially those materials maintained using the principles of provenance, original order, and collective control; permanent records. – 2. The division within an organization responsible for maintaining the organization's records of enduring value. – 3. An organization that collects the records of individuals, families, or other organizations; a collecting archives. – 4. The professional discipline of administering such collections and organizations. – 5. The building (or portion thereof) housing archival collections. – 6. A published collection of scholarly papers, especially as a periodical.We wish to maintain a connection with our past and that is perhaps the major reason for archives. Archives allow us to see, hear, and perhaps even touch the past.
The United States has the National Archives and Records Administration for those items of value to us as teachers, writers, and citizens. I wrote about the National Archives two years ago in this post.
The National Archives is only one of many collections. The states and territories all have archives, a list of which is available here from the Council of State Archivists (CoSA).
October is Archives Month in the U.S. according to CoSA, so this would be a great time to explore what your state archive has available to you!
The poster above is part of a slideshow of posters from the different states that are celebrating the month; click here.
The number and types of archives is enough to make your head spin. There are presidential libraries, military archives, local historical societies, etc. Check out the list titled Repositories of Primary Sources, from the University of Idaho. It includes archives from the U.S. and other countries--more than 5,000 total. Each name on the list links to a website. Who could ask for more?