Georgia Archives

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The Georgia Archives is the official repository of archival records for the U.S. state of Georgia. Together with the Georgia Capitol Museum it forms the Georgia Division of Archives and History, part of the office of the Secretary of State of Georgia. It is located in Morrow, Georgia, United States. The primary purpose of the Georgia Archives is to identify which state agency records are worth preserving for hundreds of years, transfer those records to the archives, protect them, and make them available to people who need them. In addition, the archives helps state agencies and local governments manage active records and stores the inactive records of state government in the State Records Center.[1]

History and facilities[edit]

The Georgia Archives was established on August 20, 1918, after a prolonged effort on the part of the Archives' first director, Lucian Lamar Knight.[2] The Archives occupied a balcony in the State Capitol Building for twelve years until 1930, when furniture magnate Amos Giles Rhodes left his home, “Rhodes Hall”, to the Archives.

On October 11, 1965 the Archives dedicated its first home built specifically to house archival collections. The 14-story marble building—known to many as “the White Ice Cube”—was hailed as the most modern archival facility in the country.[3][4] The new home led to the expansion of services, including the addition of records management and microfilming services for state agencies and local governments.

In 1998 engineers determined that the White Ice Cube was sinking due to ground water and nearby interstate construction. Even as the building sank, the archives faced massive expenses to repair the aging HVAC systems. The cost to repair and refurbish the state archives (estimated by some to be as much as $40,000,000) made new construction an attractive alternative.[5] In April 2001, the Georgia General Assembly endorsed a public-private partnership to construct a new archival facility near Clayton State University in Morrow, Georgia, and adjacent to the Southeast Regional Branch of the National Archives (completed in 2004). Groundbreaking took place on October 30 of that year and the Archives opened its new building on May 6, 2003. Since that time the facility has been awarded design awards by the American Institute of Architects at the state, regional, and national levels.[6]

On March 5, 2017 the former downtown archive location was imploded so the site could be cleared in preparation for a new judicial complex.

Collections[edit]

The Georgia Archives’ collections include the founding documents of the state, such as the Royal Charter that created the colony of Georgia in 1733 and the Ratification of the United States Constitution, the 1788 document that made Georgia a state. Important collections include the official records of Governors, from the Journal of Georgia’s first Royal Governor in 1754 to the records of the current Governor. Acts of the General Assembly also span from the acts of the first Assembly in 1755 to the present. Other collections include records of interest to genealogists, land surveyors, state and local government officials, teachers, and students.[7]

2012 Closure[edit]

On Sept. 13, 2012, Georgia Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, announced that the Georgia Archive would close to the public as of Nov. 1, 2012. Reason for the closure was cited as a 3% budget cut ($732,626). Public access to records would be limited to scheduled appointments, with details for said appointments not yet announced. SOS Kemp stated that he regretted the closure and would "fight during this legislative session to have this cut restored." [8]

The decision to close the archive to the public was met with backlash from the public, as well as organizations for archivists, librarians, genealogists, and other scholarly groups. A Facebook page called Georgians Against Closing State Archives[9] gained over 2,000 members in less than a week and a petition on Change.org collected over 17,000 signatures.

On October 18, 2012, Governor Deal issued a press release announcing that the Georgia Archives would remain open. The Secretary of State's budget would receive $125,000, which would allow the Archive to remain open through June 2013. After this time, the state would seek to turn the Archives over to the University System of Georgia.[10] The money added to the Secretary of State's budget was not enough to prevent layoffs. Five employees were scheduled to lose their jobs on November 1.[11]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Who We Are accessed 2009-06-02
  2. ^ First Annual Report of the State Historian and Director of the Department of Archives and History, Jan. 1, 1919 to Jan. 1, 1920 (Privately published, 1920), 7.
  3. ^ Victor Gondos, Jr. to Mary Givens Bryan, 16 June 1961, Secretary of State Subject Files, RG 2-1-2, Box 21, Archives Building General Correspondence, 1959-61.
  4. ^ Andrew Sparks, “Magnificent Home for Georgia’s Past,” Atlanta Journal and Constitution Magazine, 2 Oct. 1966, p. 11.
  5. ^ Robinson Associates, Consulting Engineers, Final Report: Structural Condition Survey Archives Building Parking Deck, prepared for Georgia Building Authority, project no. 98031.01, May 21, 1998.
  6. ^ Where Are We accessed 2009-06-02
  7. ^ Georgia’s Virtual Vault accessed 2009-05-31
  8. ^ Moss, Fred (September 13, 2012). "Georgia to Close State Archives to the Public - Records Preservation and Access Committee". Federation of Genealogical Societies. Retrieved 13 March 2017. 
  9. ^ "Facebook". facebook.com. Retrieved 13 March 2017. 
  10. ^ "Deal, Kemp to keep Georgia's Archives open". State of Georgia. October 18, 2012. Retrieved March 13, 2017. 
  11. ^ Severson, Kim (September 26, 2012). "Budget Cuts to Hobble State Archives in Georgia". The New York Times. Retrieved March 13, 2017. 

External links[edit]