The Maryland State Archives
|Vol. 20 No. 4
||April 24, 2006
|Governor Ehrlich visits Archives for
by Mimi Calver
On April 20, Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. came to the Archives to help kick off the celebrations for the 300th anniversary of the granting of the Annapolis City Charter on November 22, 1708. Also taking part in the ceremony were Annapolis City Alderman for Ward 2, Mike Christman, and chair of the Annapolis Charter 300 Committee, Chuck Weikel. State Archivist Ed Papenfuse welcomed the guests and talked about the history of the granting of the Charter and the controversy that surrounded it at the time.For the event, a huge mural depicting the granting of the Charter was hung from the balcony of the Archives’ search room. The mural will hang from the outside of the building for about three months as part of its tour of all 8 wards of the City leading up to the 300th anniversary year in 2008. The mural is a copy of a painting by local artist Lee Boynton that hangs in the Annapolis City Council Chamber.
Also on exhibit was the original 1708 Charter that has not been on display since the 275th anniversary celebrations in 1983. The Archives’ paper conservation staff will conserve the Charter for exhibition in 2008. Dr. Papenfuse presented the governor with a framed copy of the Charter, made from a high resolution scan of the original, to hang in the State House near the portrait of Queen Anne who granted it.
MARAC Conference in Baltimore
MARAC Conference in Baltimore
The Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives
Conference (MARAC) held
its spring meeting in
Weinstein spoke on many
topics, but captured the greatest attention as he pledged a transparent
of the steps that led
The venue proved as intriguing as many of the
presentations. The Tremont Plaza Hotel has
acquired and refurbished the
Even so, topics were equally compelling, ranging from the
post-Modern literary criticism of Jacques Derrida and his
record keeping to community based documentation via oral histories or
university/high school partnerships. Again, MSA
staffers led and contributed to
On Friday Vicki Lee and Jenn Cruickshank of the MSA
Conservation Lab partnered with Kathleen Ludwig and Hilary Kaplan of
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to present In Katrina’s Wake: Disasters Do Happen. Vicki
chaired this session, and provided an
overview of how MSA staff responds to the challenges of disaster
throughout the state. Jenn
presented a short course in the responses and resources required to be
for emergencies. Ludwig and Kaplan took
us on a photo tour of the
On Saturday MSA staff chaired two panels.
Haley, Director of the
Study of the Legacy of Slavery in
Finally, Robert Barnes, Reference Archivist, was joined by
June Lloyd of the
The conference proved highly successful, and marked the
largest participation in a MARAC meeting of MSA staff in years. Networking such as these events allow is an
invaluable asset to professional development.
is considering a return to the metropolitan
Ed Papenfuse’s Remarks at MARAC to Introduce the Archivist of the
On April 21, Ed Papenfuse appeared at the Mid-Atlantic Regional
Archives Conference and gave the following remarks as the introduction
of the Archivist of the United States, Dr. Allen Weinstein.
It is my privilege this morning to introduce Allen Weinstein. Professor Allen Weinstein was confirmed as the ninth Archivist of the
>From 1985 to 2003, he served as President of The Center for Democracy, a non-profit foundation based in
His other awards and fellowships have included two Senior Fulbright Lectureships, an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, the Commonwealth Fund Lectureship at the
Dr. Weinstein is no stranger to controversy. His scholarship led him to conclude that a former favorite son and rising international star of this great state of Maryland, Alger Hiss, was a Soviet Spy, although a few of us still have lingering doubts about the conclusiveness of the evidence.
While some latitude will inevitably be allowed the people we elect to office to make decisions concerning access to the records they create for the period of time they are in office, we ought not to permit them to do so beyond a reasonably prescribed time limit once they are out of office. Since becoming Archivist, Dr. Weinstein has had to cope with a former National Security Advisor who saw fit to take some of the records of his office home, and over the past few weeks he has been drawn into the fray over reclassification of records, pushing them back under the shroud of inaccessibility, and prompting the New York Times on Sunday to run a piece by Scott Shane entitled "Why the Secrecy? Only the Bureaucrats Know." As the
In a democracy such as ours, a democracy which Dr. Weinstein has dedicated his public career to espousing its virtues around the world, there needs to be a time, a persistently forward moving date, after which all that has been identified as permanently valuable information is totally free, uncensored, and accessible. There should be no turning back.
Apart from the question of what of public records should remain secret and for how long, Dr. Weinstein's most daunting task is mastering the complexities of creating a permanent electronic archives. Under his leadership and that of his predecessor the budget for creating and providing a permanent National Electronic Archives has grown substantially.
As yet there is no such thing as a permanent electronic record in a perpetually authoritative retrieval environment. Jstor, the cooperative electronic journal web site, probably comes as close as any experiment in establishing one, and our efforts to place all land records in Maryland online may prove a viable model for the future. We now have 160,000,000 million archivally secure and accountable land record images on line, and counting, encompassed in 120 terrabytes of live archival storage. This is but a drop in the bucket of the essential electronic records of governance, about which historians, reporters, and the general public are clamoring for access.
Dr. Weinstein has made it clear that to answer the most pressing questions of declassification and access to permanent records requires historians, archivists, librarians, and the public in general to focus on what we currently save, why we save it, and how to save it permanently electronically from the moment of its creation. It will do us no good to worry about preservation and access years after the outmoded system that created the electronic record is no longer functioning and the record is as difficult to decode as the Venona telegrams with which Dr. Weinstein is so familiar in the Alger Hiss case. When we get to the point of the Archives at the State and National level being the direct and immediate repository of all permanent electronic records regardless of their security clearance and timing of accessibility, then the future of a truthful history and a well-functioning democracy will be secure.Nearly 40 years ago, on the first day of my first real job out of graduate school as an Assistant Editor on the American Historical Review, I was shown to my office and told to use it wisely. It had just been vacated by a distinguished visiting, younger scholar, by the name of Allen Weinstein of whom there were great expectations. When I visited my old office not too long ago for a meeting at the AHA headquarters in Washington, all other previous occupants of that office had long been forgotten, and I was told with pride by the current occupant that he had the privilege of sitting in Allen Weinstein's chair. The wisest course for me at the moment is to do what I was asked to do, and that is to present to you the 9th Archivist of the
| THE ARCHIVISTS'
|Edward C. Papenfuse, State Archivist
Patricia V. Melville, Editor
Mimi Calver, Assistant Editor
Lynne MacAdam, Web Editor
The Maryland State Archives is an independent agency in the Office of the Governor and is advised by the Hall of Records Commission. The Chairman of the Hall of Records Commission is the Honorable Robert M. Bell, Chief Judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals.
The Archivists' Bulldog is issued monthly to publicize records collections, finding aids, and other activities of the Archives and its staff.
The Editor welcomes editorial comments and contributions from the public.
The Archives maintains a web site on the Internet at http://mdsa.net
© Copyright April 25, 2006 Maryland State Archives