Abstract

Drawing upon archival sources, this article reviews the historical background and discourse surrounding early descriptive developments at the US National Archives from 1935 to 1941. It identifies three discursive strands and discusses their implications for archivists today: how local and national differences might temper wholesale adoption of practices employed in other settings; the initial attempt to blend bibliographic and archival approaches at the National Archives; and the conceptualization and subsequent adoption of the record group as an institutional compromise. This compromise embedded conceptual principles identified by European archivists while simultaneously addressing specific pragmatic and physical considerations presented by federal records at the time.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2166-3033
Print ISSN
2164-8034
Pages
pp. 54-73
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-25
Open Access
No
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