archives a key feature of the State's commemora-
tion. A "Memorial Hall of Records" was proposed
as early as 1928, and in 1931, the General Assembly
appropriated funds to erect an archives building.
Construction began in 1934; the Hall of Records
opened to the public a year later.
The General Assembly provided for the manage-
ment of the public records to be housed in the new
facility A 1935 statute created the Hall of Records
Commission and provided for the collection, cus-
tody and preservation of the official records, docu-
ments, and publications of the State (Chapter 18,
Acts of 1935). The Hall of Records was created in
1935 as an independent agency of State govern-
ment and remained so until its incorporation into
the Department of General Services in 1970 (Chap-
ter 97, Acts of 1970). In 1984, the Hall of Records
was renamed die State Archives and became an
independent agency within the office of the Gover-
nor (Chapter 286, Acts of 1984). The 1984 law
defined an advisory role for die Hall of Records
Commission and placed the Commission on Artis-
tic Property under the State Archives (Code State
Government Article, sees. 2-1513(b), 3-404(b),
7-213(a), 9-1001 through 9-1027, 10-604
through 10-608,10-631 through 10-634,10-637
State, county, and municipal government agen-
cies in Maryland may offer the State Archives all
files, documents, and records not in current use.
The records of all State agencies, boards, and com-
missions that are abolished or that otherwise con-
clude their work must be transferred to the custody
of the State Archives. By law, State agencies have
their records placed on retention and disposal
schedules. No public records can be destroyed
without scheduling and the prior approval of the
All records that are in the courthouses of the
State and that were created prior to April 28,1788
(when Maryland ratified the U.S. Constitution)
must be deposited at the State Archives.
All current deeds, mortgages, and releases
recorded in the courthouses of the State are
microfilmed and preserved at the State Archives for
security purposes. Limited facilities are available for
the filming of records of State agencies. The Stare
Archives also serves as the official depository for the
duplicate copies of subdivision plats formerly sent
to the Land Office as insurance against the loss of
The State Archives shares responsibility with the
Division of Vital Records of the Department of
Health and Mental Hygiene for preservation of and
access to vital records information (Code State
Government Article, sec. 9-1015).
Rules and regulations promulgated in the Code
of Maryland Regulations give the State Archives a
role in the establishment of archives in local juris-
dictions (COMAR 14.18.03).
Publications and reports of State agencies as well
as some county and municipal agencies have been
collected by the State Archives since 1947. The State
Archives has received State publications and reports
under the State Publications Depository and Dis-
tribution Program since 1982. The State Archives also
is an official depository for county charters, codes, and
laws (Code 1957, Art. 25, sec. 32A; Art. 25A, sees.
3B(3), 7(b); Art. 25B, sees. 7(b)(3), 12(b)).
Municipal charter amendments and annexations, after
publication, are deposited annually with the State
Archives by the Department of Legislative Reference
(Code 1957, Art. 23A, sec. 17C).
The State Archivist is designated as the Commis-
sioner of Land Patents and is responsible for issuing
land patents and conducting court hearings (Chap-
ter 355, Acts of 1967). In performing these duties,
the State Archivist acts independendy of the duties
imposed as State Archivist (Code Real Property
Article, sees. 13-101 through 13-504).
The land patent process is the mechanism for
granting land in Maryland. Land patents were is-
sued by the proprietors during the colonial period,
and later by the Stare. Virtually all land in Maryland
has been patented. Through survey errors or due to
the inaccessibility of a tract, some land, however,
may never have been included in a patent. This land,
when it is discovered, may be patented, with tide
passing to the patentee upon payment of the fair
market value of the land to the State.
An applicant for a patent must present evidence
based on a tide search of the property in question
proving that no former patent encompasses any
portion of the land. Information concerning the
land patent process and an application for a patent
can be obtained from the Commissioner of Land
The Scare Archives creates historical exhibits and
produces a variety of finding aids, guides to records,
historical monographs, essays, and directories. In
addition, the State Archives compiles, edits, pub-
lishes, and distributes theMABTLAND MANUAL.
The Archives also prepares, edits, and publishes
volumes of the new series of the Archives of
Maryland. Brochures describing publications and
educational outreach programs, and providing
guidance for research are available on request.
HALL OF RECORDS COMMISSION
Chairperson: Robert C. Murphy, Chief Judge,
Court of Appeals
Ex officio: Louis L. Goldstein, Comptroller of the
Treasury; Lucille Maurer, State Treasurer; Martin
W. Walsh, Jr., Secretary of General Services; E.
Mason Hendrickson, President, Maryland
Historical Society; Dr. William C. Richardson,