n.the management of archival records and institutionsGates 1938, 133–134To date, however, no formal training courses in this country have furnished a supply of persons fitted to fill the position of state archivist. There is now the prospect that this obstacle to the advance of may be removed by the inauguration of courses at Columbia University and the University of Illinois.Newsome 1939a, 14It seems best to prohibit the destruction of public archives by any custodian until he has submitted a descriptive list of the archives whose destruction is proposed and has received the written consent of the state archival agency or some official or board conversant with sound archival economy.Palmer 1939, 69Registratio or archival economy is defined as the “technique of collecting and preserving” authentic documents and includes the inventorying, calendaring, and transcription of these documents, so that in addition to the originals there may be an everlasting record of their contents and value.Chatfield 1940, 99One of the great accomplishments in the field of archival economy has been the discovery of the principle of provenance, or, as the French call it, respect pour les fonds. According to this principle, record material should be organized with respect to its source. I believe the discovery of this principle is as important to archival economy as the discovery of the law of gravity is to physical science.Jenkinson 1944, 2It is our usual custom therefore, in studying any large question of archival economy, to examine it first as it bears upon, or is illustrated by, archives in England—which are of course larger than those of the other three countries—and then to inquire how far and with what reservations the conclusions reached apply to the remaining parts of the United Kingdom.Brooks 1951, 42–43The emphasis on history is something we take for granted, but it is worth mentioning here as bearing on the essential character of archival economy. For the very fact that archives are organic bodies, produced in the evolution of organizations of human beings, stresses their vital relationship to the history of those organisms and the milieu in which they have grown. Archives at once are derived from history and serve the study of history.Reynolds 1991, 466In December 1913, when archival theory and practice in the United States was still in its infancy, the Library of Congress published a guide, Notes on the Care, Cataloguing, Calendaring and Arranging of Manuscripts, by a member of its manuscript division staff, John C. Fitzpatrick. The same month the Public Archives Commission’s fifth annual conference presented chapter one and chapter five of its proposed “Primer of Archival Economy.” The failure of the commission ever to complete and publish its primer had considerable impact on the direction of the archival profession in the United States as it grew to maturity.Menne-Haritz 2005, 330Posner saw the advantages of being able to prepare for fields such as preservation, archival management, and work with modern records in specialized preparatory courses given to a large extent by archivists, because he was accustomed to this at the Prussian archives. He calls all these subjects “the archival economy” and regards description and processing of modern records as part of the practical training.Jimerson 2009, 107At the AHA convention of 1936, ninety-six men and twenty-nine women from twenty-three states, plus Canada and Cuba, met to form the Society of American Archivists (SAA). The new association adopted a constitution, which declared: “The objects of the Society of American Archivists shall be to promote sound principles of archival economy and to facilitate cooperation among archivists and archival agencies.”Hensen et al. 2011, 4As early as 1912, the American Historical Association called for the preparation of a manual of what it then termed “archival economy.”Leland 2011, 88In the development of American archives, in the evolution of archival economy, this conference and those that are to follow should play a most important part. By the discussion of common problems and the comparison of experiences sound principles adapted to American conditions may be worked out. In time we may be able to prepare a manual of archive practice similar to that of the Dutch archivists.
This term is no longer in use in the profession, having primarily gone out of use by the 1950s, though occasionally seen afterwards. It was used interchangeably with its near-twin and synonym, “archive economy.”