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Twenty-Seventh Annual Report of the Archivist of the Hall of Records, FY 1962
Volume 464, Page 5   View pdf image (33K)
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ARCHIVIST OF THE HALL OF RECORDS 5

LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL

To THE HONORABLE

THE HALL OF RECORDS COMMISSION

ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND

Gentlemen:

For some years now all of the old Maryland records formerly held
by state, county and municipal governments have been in the Hall of
Records, and the new ones as they become older, come of themselves
and by schedule. Those only are still missing which are held by private
individuals covertly and by institutions openly, here and elsewhere. Is
it not time that we think of bringing them home?

Only yesterday I received a sharp reminder of this state of affairs
from a young scholar who has been combing the recordkeeping estab-
lishments of the Eastern Seaboard. He said: "Maryland records are
certainly well-represented in the autograph collections up and down the
East Coast. Looking at them I often visualized where they once must
have fitted in among your records."

Although I have long known this unhappy truth, it was nonethe-
less shocking to hear it from someone outside the family. While it was
not so intended, the bare statement had the earmark of a reproach, a
reflection on our custodianship. But the reproach was not altogether
merited.

In the first years of the Hall of Records, in 1937 to be precise,
the combined efforts of Carroll T. Bond, Chief Judge of the Maryland
Court of Appeals and first Chairman of the Hall of Records Com-
mission, George L. Radcliffe, Junior Senator from Maryland, and James
A. Robertson, first Archivist, failed to persuade the Librarian of Con-
gress to return even one record of the many created by Maryland
government and now in the Library of Congress. Renewed efforts on
my part in 1941 and again in 1961 were equally fruitless.

Nor is the Library of Congress unique in its attitude. Almost
all institutions are hoarders, especially those which are public or semi-
public. Once acquired, a picture, a book, a manuscript becomes public
property to be kept forever. Some of these institutions have become


 

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Twenty-Seventh Annual Report of the Archivist of the Hall of Records, FY 1962
Volume 464, Page 5   View pdf image (33K)
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