Originally established in 1914 to help educate the city's electorate and improve the decision making of public officials, the municipal reference library of New York City, unlike others created during and after the Progressive Era, expanded its mission to include record-keeping and archival responsibilities. Encountering indifference from city officials, librarian Rebecca Rankin used her understanding of government operations, politics, and public relations to convince these leaders of the need for a municipal archives to preserve historic documents and the need for a system to manage and provide access to departmental records. In doing so, Rankin furthered the development of the archival profession in the first half of the twentieth century. Her decades-long efforts demonstrate the challenges and opportunities librarians encountered in reconciling the missions and methodologies of libraries, archives, and records management.


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pp. 263-296
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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