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[photo, Search Room, State Archives, 350 Rowe Blvd., Annapolis, Maryland] As the historical agency for Maryland, the State Archives is the central depository for government records of permanent value. Records date from the founding of the Maryland colony in 1634 through the 1990s. These records are described in the State Archives' Guide to Government Records. They include colonial and State executive, legislative and judicial records; county probate, land and court records; business records; publications and reports of the State, county and municipal governments; records of religious bodies; and special collections of maps, newspapers, photographs, and private papers.

Search Room, State Archives, 350 Rowe Blvd., Annapolis, Maryland, May 2007. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

[photo, State Archives, 350 Rowe Blvd., Annapolis, Maryland] Origins of the State Archives trace to the State's tercentenary celebrations in 1934. As the 300th anniversary of Maryland's founding approached, the Maryland Tercentenary Commission made a modern, centralized archives a key feature of the State commemoration. A "Memorial Hall of Records" was proposed as early as 1928, and in 1931 the General Assembly appropriated funds to erect an archives building in Annapolis. Construction began in 1934, and the first Hall of Records, located one block north of the State House, opened to the public in 1935. There, the records remained until 1986 when the State Archives moved to the new Hall of Records Building on Rowe Boulevard across from the Robert C. Murphy Courts of Appeal Building. On June 27, 2005, the Hall of Records was rededicated as the Edward C. Papenfuse State Archives Building.

State Archives (now the Edward C. Papenfuse State Archives Building), 350 Rowe Blvd., Annapolis, Maryland, March 2004. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

With the creation of the Hall of Records Commission, the General Assembly provided for the management of the public records and for the collection, custody, and preservation of the official records, documents, and publications of the State (Chapter 18, Acts of 1935). Formed in 1935, the Hall of Records was an independent agency of State government and remained so until its incorporation into the Department of General Services in 1970 (Chapter 97, Acts of 1970). In 1984, the Hall of Records reformed as the State Archives, an independent agency within the office of the Governor (Chapter 286, Acts of 1984). The 1984 law defined an advisory role for the Hall of Records Commission and placed the Commission on Artistic Property under the State Archives (Code State Government Article, secs. 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 through 10-642, 10-701, 10-702).

The State Archives produces web publications and on-line exhibits, as well as guides to records, finding aids, historical monographs, essays, and directories. Every two years, the State Archives compiles, edits, publishes, and distributes the Maryland Manual: A Guide to Maryland Government and daily updates the Maryland Manual On-Line. In addition, the State Archives prepares, edits, and publishes volumes of the new series of the Archives of Maryland, including the Archives of Maryland On-Line. Examples of publications currently available are:

Rules and regulations promulgated in the Code of Maryland Regulations give the State Archives a role in the establishment of archives in local jurisdictions (COMAR 14.18.03).

Within the State Archives are nine main units: Administration; Appraisal and Description; Artistic Property, Preservation, and Public Outreach; Digital Imaging and Acquisition; Government Information Services; Information Systems Management; Record Transfers and Space Management; Reference and Records Services, and Training; and Research and Student Outreach. The State Archives also has a Land Patents section and is aided by the Hall of Records Commission, and the Commission on Artistic Property.

Created in 1935, the Hall of Records Commission is an advisory body to the State Archives (Chapter 18, Acts of 1935). The Commission reviews and comments upon policies of the Archives that concern proposed budgets, publications, and public access to records.

The Commission is composed of eleven members. Nine serve ex officio. The Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals chairs the Commission (Code State Government Article, secs. 9-1001 through 9-1006).

In 1969, the Commission on Artistic Property was formed (Chapter 111, Acts of 1969). It was incorporated into the State Archives in 1984 (Chapter 286, Acts of 1984).

The Commission is the official custodian of all valuable paintings and other decorative arts owned by or loaned to the State (except those located in a State room of Government House). The Commission provides for the acquisition, location, proper care, custody, restoration, display, and preservation of these paintings and decorative arts. Every person, agency, or organization desiring to acquire a painting or other decorative art work for display in a State building or premises (except in a room of Government House) must secure from the Commission both prior approval and final acceptance of the painting or decorative art work. In such instances, the Commission considers the competence of the artist, the proposed location, and the quality, historical significance, and appropriateness of the work.

With the approval of the Governor and the State Archivist, the Commission may receive and accept gifts and loans of paintings and decorative art works. With the approval of the Governor, the State Archivist may accept gifts of money for the Commission from any source, public or private, and thereafter administer and expend the funds according to the conditions and terms of the gift. In 1996, the Commission, on behalf of the State, assumed ownership of the art collection of the Peabody Institute.

The Commission consists of fifteen members. Eight are appointed by the State Archivist with the approval of the Governor. Seven serve ex officio. With the Governor's approval, the State Archivist names the chair (Code State Government Article, secs. 9-1016 through 9-1023).


Appraisal and Description deals with the analysis and disposition of government records. The disposition of State, county and municipal records is determined by an appraisal of their value for future agency operations and historical studies.

Records Retention Schedules. Those records deemed to have permanent value are retained as archival documents. Their characteristics are described in records retention schedules. Other materials become disposable after a period of time

Disposal Certificates. Those records no longer needed are scheduled for disposal as certified through disposal certificates.

All records retention schedules and disposal certificates must be submitted for approval by the State Archivist, and it is in the review of these schedules and certificates that the disposition of records is determined. Through this process, the important administrative, legal, fiscal and historical records of government are identified for permanent retention and eventual transfer to the State Archives. Other materials, when agencies no longer need them for current operations, can be destroyed.


Artistic Property, Preservation, and Public Outreach originated as Education, Outreach, and Artistic Property, It became Artistic Property and Public Outreach in May 1999, and reorganized under its present name in August 2003.

The State-owned art collections, traveling exhibits that tour Maryland, and exhibits in the Annapolis government complex are managed by Artistic Property, Preservation, and Public Outreach. The office also supports the work of the Government House Trust, and the State House Trust. This includes management of all requests for use of the State House, and serving as liaison with the Department of General Services and the Maryland Historical Trust for maintenance and preservation of the State House, the most historically important building in Maryland. Artistic Property, Preservation, and Public Outreach also provides support for certain activities of the General Assembly.

During Fiscal Year 2007, the Commission on Artistic Property received funding for conservation initiatives to enable objects to be put on public display or remain on display. On-going conservation projects include: a 17th century portrait of Leonard Calvert, the first colonial governor of Maryland; a portrait of William Paca by Charles Willson Peale; and the canvas and frame from Rembrandt Peale's portrait of George Washington.

[photo, Conservation Lab, State Archives, Annapolis, Maryland] Formerly called Conservation and Restoration, Preservation Services adopted its present name in 2001. This division conserves and cares for archival records, maintains their physical integrity, and assures their longevity and accessibility. It also provides condition assessments and performs treatments needed to prepare damaged materials for scanning.

Preservation Services oversees the Conservation Laboratory, Preservation and Access, and Preservation Outreach.

Conservation Lab, State Archives, Annapolis, Maryland, April 2007. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

Conservation Laboratory. The Conservation Laboratory preserves the physical integrity of archives in many forms, including manuscript papers and record books, microfilm, microfiche, photographs, published books, government publications, maps, newspapers, and electronic files. The Conservation Lab monitors environmental conditions in temperature- and humidity-controlled storage areas. Where appropriate, conservation measures are used. These include deacidification of paper, repair and restoration, mylar encapsulation, phase boxing, and archival bookbinding.

Preservation and Access. The State Archives preserves information with microfilm and digital imaging to expand access to historical documents. Sophisticated computer-scanning technology and microfilm produced to national preservation standards preserve images of original materials. These procedures help individuals who are not able to use originals at the Archives, and they preserve the information value of fragile manuscripts, maps, newspapers, and photographs.

Preservation Outreach. The State Archives participated in the work of the Task Force to Initiate Preservation Planning in Maryland and has assumed a leading position in promoting preservation to organizations and individuals across the State. The State Archives was designated by the Task Force to coordinate public information, workshops, and low-cost conservation services. The goal is to ensure preservation of significant collections of books and documents in Maryland libraries, museums, historical societies, government offices, private organizations, and private homes. At the State Archives, conservation staff conducts preservation workshops each spring.

The State Archives is authorized to collect public and private records and other information relating to the history of the Province and State of Maryland from the earliest times. At the discretion of the State Archivist, the State Archives also is authorized to acquire collections of private records as permanent gifts (Code State Government Article, sec. 9-1010).

Special Collections started in 1935 as the Gift Collection and reorganized under its present name in 1987. In March 2005, it was placed under Artistic Property, Preservation, and Public Outreach.

Special Collections supervises the care, preservation, accessioning, and description of private records. Usually, they are given to the State Archives by private donors and generally consist of personal letters, diaries, photographs, maps, church records, architectural plans, and other manuscript documents. Maps, for example, date from 1565 to the present. They serve as an important resource for scientists, historians, and citizens interested in the Chesapeake watershed. Photographs illustrate a cross section of Maryland life and culture, including agriculture, architecture, family life, government, nautical and naval affairs, recreation, and sports. In addition, the State Archives has microfilmed records of nearly 300 churches of various denominations, and more than 250 newspapers from across the State.

With the exception of collections of fine arts, the Director, in conjunction with the State Archivist, reviews offers of materials as gifts to Special Collections. Offers of gifts of fine arts are reviewed by the Curator of Artistic Property and the State Archivist. Materials are accepted on the basis of their relevance to the holdings of the State Archives, their condition, and the need to provide for their proper storage and care.

While collections generally are offered as gifts to the State Archives, occasionally materials are accepted on deposit. The decision to accept a collection of original materials as a deposit is made by the Director in conjunction with the State Archivist based upon the relevance of the collection to the holdings of the State Archives, its condition, and the historical value of the collection. A collection may be placed on deposit if its contents are to be photographed or microfilmed as a reference collection at the Archives and the original materials returned to the owner.


Digital Acquisition, Processing and Publication originated as Appraisal and Preservation. When appraisal functions were assigned to Appraisal and Description, Acquisition and Preservation Services formed in May 1999. It restructured as Acquisition and Imaging Services in August 2003, and was renamed Digital Imaging and Acquisition in June 2005. In August 2007, it reformed as Digital Acquisition, Processing and Publication.

Digital Acquisition, Processing and Publication is responsible for the identification, management, and conservation of the permanently valuable records of Maryland State and local government. This department ensures that those records are made accessible, and user friendly on the web. The department provides digital imaging; catalogs and publishes these images; and produces and manages archival security master negative microfilm. It also distributes public-access duplicates on film and compact disc.

The preservation of digital-imaging services offered by the State Archives in Annapolis and at its Baltimore facility is managed, coordinated, and promoted by Digital Acquisition, Processing and Publication. In addition, the department provides logistical and technical support, and assists in the development of standards and techniques used in imaging projects.

Digital Acquisition, Processing and Publication is made up of two divisions: Project Management, and Production Services.

Project Management is responsible for the overarching management of the Digital Acquisition, Processing, and Publications. Project Management identifies the scope of requested projects; oversees fiscal projections and budget management; proposes and manages the project work plan; and serves as chief liaison with vendors and sister agencies.

Production Services began as Imaging Services and reorganized as Scanning Services in June 2005. In August 2007, it reformed as Production Services. This division oversees image acquisition, processing, inspection, and publication, both from original paper, mylar, or linen documents and from microfilm. Production Services helps preserve and make accessible copies of records through the creation and duplication of microfiche, archival security microfilm and compact discs, photocopy, and photography. In this way, the division assists government agencies; promotes Maryland scholarship by aiding students, historians, and genealogists; provides evidential materials for legal matters; and supports State Archives exhibits and publications.

Microfilm & CD Production. This unit produces, catalogs, stores, duplicates, and maintains archival security master negative microfilm and CD backups of digital record series in the possession of the Archives.

Microfilm Scanning. This unit is responsible for the acquisition of archival quality digital images of targeted record series derived from microfilm.

On-Demand Scanning. This unit fills requests from archival staff and the general public for "piece-work" scanning of individual documents (rather than entire series)

Production Scanning. This unit is responsible for the acquisition of archival quality digital images of targeted record collections derived from paper.

Quality Assurance & Processing. This unit catalogs, inspects, manages, and publishes digital images produced in-house, received from other agencies, or produced by a scanning vendor under contract with the Archives.


[photo, Government Information Services, State Archives, Annapolis, Maryland] Organized in 1986, Government Information Services assists the citizens of Maryland and their agencies of government with current government information, continuously updated. This office is responsible for the Maryland Manual On-Line; the Maryland Manual; Government Publications; and the Library of the State Archives.

Government Information Services, State Archives, Annapolis, Maryland, March 2007. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

Publications and reports of State government agencies date to the early 19th century. They, with the publications and reports of county and municipal governments, have been collected by the State Archives since 1947 (Chapter 651, Acts of 1947). The State Archives also is an official depository for county charters, codes, and laws (Code 1957, Art. 25, sec. 32A; Art. 25A, secs. 3B(3), 7(b); Art. 25B, secs. 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).

Organized in 1940, the Library is a reference source for works that supplement the holdings of the State Archives. These include published records and sources on Maryland history, government, biography, geography, and natural resources; county, city and town histories; regional studies; Chesapeake Bay; research guides; genealogies; and archives administration, conservation, and preservation. The Library of the Department of Natural Resources transferred to the State Archives in June 1987. It includes materials collected since 1942 on Maryland natural resources, wildlife, fisheries, forestry, water resources, and the environment.

Published by the State Archives, the Maryland Manual On-Line and the Maryland Manual describe Maryland State, county and municipal government (Code State Government Article, secs. 9-1026, 9-1027). The Maryland Manual has been published in print since 1896. The Maryland Manual On-Line has been accessible on the Internet since December 1996.

The Maryland Manual On-Line is a continuously updated guide to Maryland government. It presents an overview of the organizational structure and staffing of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of Maryland government. It shows agency budgets and organizational charts, lists mandated reports, and provides the origin, historical evolution, and functions of government agencies.

Biographies of government officials appear in the Maryland Manual On-Line. These include legislators, constitutional officers, department secretaries, judges, and Maryland's Congressional delegation, as well as county executives, state's attorneys, sheriffs, and other local government officials. The Manual also gives additional information on local government (county and municipal), as well as intercounty, interstate and federal agencies. In addition, the Manual contains the State budget, the Constitution of Maryland, and election returns. The Maryland at a Glance section offers condensed data on many Maryland subjects, State symbols, Maryland historical chronology, and Maryland government.


Information Systems Management began in 1989 as Computer Services and reorganized under its current name in 1997. This office oversees Electronic Archives, Information Technology Development, and Information Technology Support for the State Archives. The office also assists other State agencies in designing and updating their homepages for the web.

At its September 1998 meeting, the Hall of Records Commission resolved that a program of Electronic Archives be created within the State Archives. The program coordinates and manages the development of a permanent archives of electronic records.

As part of the Governor's technology initiative, the
Maryland Electronic Capital was the homepage for the State of Maryland. It started in the fall of 1995 and concluded in 2004.


Record Transfers and Space Management was organized in July 2001. Previously, this unit's functions had been the responsibility of Acquisition and Conservation.

State, county and municipal government agencies in Maryland may offer the State Archives all files, documents, and records not in current use. Record Transfers and Space Management supervises the transfer, storage, and retrieval of those government records deemed to be permanently valuable.

State Government Records. The records of all State agencies, boards, and commissions that are abolished or that otherwise conclude 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 State Archives.

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).

County and Municipal Government Records. 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 State Archives also serves as the official depository for subdivision and condominium plats.


Reference and Records Services, and Training organized in May 2007 from Reference Services. This office is responsible for Employee Training, Publication Rights, Records Services, and Reference Services.

An electronic reference source issued by the State Archives is Documents for the Classroom. For the use of teachers, students, scholars, and the general public, Documents for the Classroom are digital facsimiles of selected original documents, secondary sources, and multi-media presentations. These electronic document packets use Maryland history to illustrate national trends. They cover elements of Maryland and American history from colonization to the modern era relating to political development, cultural diversity, and interdisciplinary approaches to understanding the past.

Records are made accessible to the public and government agencies through the search room, by mail or telephone, and through electronic media. Open Wednesday through Friday, and three Saturdays a month, the search room is staffed by professional archivists to assist patrons. Electronic and mail reference services are available Monday through Friday. In addition, electronic services and information (including comprehensive catalogues of the Archives' holdings) are accessible through the State Archives' homepage on the web.

Records are used for legal documentation, historical research, land title searches, geographical information, vital record research, and genealogy. The Archives offers limited research services by its staff. Copies of records can be produced (for a fee) on paper as photographs, or as digital image files. Self-service copying from microfilm also is available for many records. Most records on microforms may be purchased or borrowed through interlibrary loan.


Research and Student Outreach originated as Research and reformed under its current name in 2005. Using original documentary sources, Research and Student Outreach works to interpret, preserve, and improve access to Maryland history. The foundation of this department is collective biography developed to document the lives and careers of individuals who have shaped the history of Maryland. The primary focus is on biographies of the men and women who have served in Maryland State government. In addition to State government officials, biographical research broadens to cover special topic areas highlighting significant contributions from federal, county and local government officials, Maryland women, African Americans, Native Americans, military personnel, teachers, doctors, artists, lawyers, and others. To reach the widest possible audience, the staff prepares all research results for publication on the Archives' website and produces print media as needed.

Each summer, internships are offered for college students to learn archival and historical methods at the State Archives. Work/study programs also are available.

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