AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 1 Preservation of Historical Archives
HAD Special Session, Sunday, 10:00am-1:00pm, January 8, 2006, Maryland C

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[1.01] Archives held at the U.S. Naval Observatory: Problems and Possible Solutions

B. G. Corbin (U.S. Naval Observatory)

The history of the U. S. Naval Observatory, the oldest scientific institution in the Navy, is preserved in its archival records. Many of the 19th and early 20th century materials were transferred to the National Archives and Records Center (NARA) mid 20th century and form Record Group 78. Still, many 19th century records and archives produced through the 1960s remain at the Observatory. With the loss of the historian’s position several years ago, and the retirement of older staff members and astronomers in recent years who had an interest in these materials, the records are now in jeopardy. In times of reduced budgets, how can an institution, trying to support its scientific projects, find manpower to protect and house the archives in a proper environment? This is a dilemma facing many institutions today. For U. S. Government agencies, transfer to NARA of all archival material is the ultimate goal, but this also requires a great deal of organization of the archives including much formal paperwork, and manpower is not readily available. It is hoped a solution can be found for these institutions before future neglect relegates the materials to the dumpster. Possible solutions will be explored.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: corbin.brenda@usno.navy.mil

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