Monday, September 28, 2015

The College Archives Committee

Annual Report of the College Archives Committee
Prior to 1958, there was no organized method for acquiring and preserving the official records created by Woman’s College (now UNCG). The need and importance of establishing such a process was brought to the administration’s attention in August 1956 in a letter from A.F. Kuhlman, Chairman of the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries, and E.C. Roberts, Director of the Southeastern Interlibrary Research Facility. In their letter, they noted that as colleges became more decentralized, “it becomes increasingly important that there be a central depository and an archival program for the official records of an institution.” They went on to explain that “only by a systematic program of collection and preservation of the publications and records of an institution can the full and true story of that institution’s development and endeavors be recorded.” The letter closes with a recommendation for the college to assume this responsibility and to start saving their history. However, it would be two more years before the school took any official action.

In the fall of 1957, North Carolina State Archivist, H.G. Jones, was invited to the campus to survey the archives. He was not happy with the current conditions of the archives as he “looked with considerable scorn” upon the cases that housed the archival materials in the Forney Building and Library Building. Following his visit, Jones wrote a letter to Chancellor Gordon W. Blackwell, giving detailed advice on some immediate and long term problems facing the college archives.

Charles Adams, 1951
In response to these recommendations, Chancellor Blackwell appointed current Librarian, Charles M. Adams, as the new Archivist, and Marjorie Hood as the Assistant Archivist.  In addition, he established the College Archives Committee in January 1958, whose charge was “to advise the College Archivist concerning selection of materials for the archives, proper housing of the archives, and other pertinent matters.” Other members of the committee, along with Adams and Hood, included history professors Richard Current and Blackwell Robinson. In May 1958, the committee traveled to Raleigh to study the state archives and ask for further advice on proper storage and care of archival materials.  One of the first priorities of the committee was transferring records located in the basement storage vault of the Forney Building to the Library Building as excessive temperature and humidity threatened to damage the materials.

The work of the College Archives Committee was the first step in developing an institutional records management program with the aim of preserving the history of the college.  Today, the University Archives continues to collect and maintain the documents and records, both physically and digitally, relevant to the history of UNCG.

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