n. (abbr. AOTUS)ay-OH-təssthe officer charged with overseeing and managing the archives and records of the federal governmentLeahy 1940, 3When the president of the United States on December 10, 1938, announced a plan for the erection of a building on the grounds of his family estate at Hyde Park, to hold his official and personal papers, with the title thereto vested in the federal government and placed under the administration of the archivist of the United States, the nation's attention was called in a striking manner to the wanderings of official records of all former presidents, and a precedent was established for future presidents and other outstanding federal officials. It remains for some federal official to be designated to intervene whenever there is an attempt, at least by less formidable officers than the chief executive, illegally to remove records from their proper custody.Grover 1951, 14We are going to see that records having insufficient value to be maintained in perpetuity by the taxpayer are destroyed. We are going to get into the gadgetry of record-making and record-keeping, and cut the flow of the taxpayers’ money into this field. I may be wrong in saying that I, as Archivist of the United States, have an interest in such problems. But I think I will prove to be less wrong than those archival officials who do not face up to the Gargantuan problems posed by contemporary record-creating mechanisms and organizations.Leland 1953, 50But while the Executive Committee of the American Historical Association lays proper emphasis on successful experience in archive work, it is well aware that the business of being the first Archivist of the United States is primarily an administrative employment, and one requiring a combination of organizing power and personal tact.Posner 1960, 268Farther reaching and more effective was the proposal for a UNESCO archives program aimed at the creation of an international organization of professional archivists. Happily, at the 1946 Paris conference, his suggestion was included in UNESCO’s program. Encouraged by its approval, Dr. Buck in his dual capacity of Archivist of the United States and president of the Society of American Archivists could take the initiative in calling upon about 120 prominent archivists in other countries to join with him in determining “the nature of the organization that archivists want to see established . . . and the next steps to be taken.”McCoy 1974, 399The passage of the National Archives Act, in June 1934, is recognized as being equally significant. Yet the determination that year of who should be the first Archivist of the United States was also crucial. That official, under the law, was to have almost complete freedom in appointing his staff and in making rules and regulations for the operation of the new agency. Moreover, at least on paper, he was to have broad powers in dealing with the disposition of federal records.Gustafson 1976, 273In October 1934 President Franklin D. Roosevelt selected the man who would be first archivist of the United States—Robert Digges Wimberly Connor of North Carolina. At his first meeting with Connor, the President said he thought that “valuable historic documents,” such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, treaties, and proclamations would be housed in the National Archives.Robertson 1976, 486The legislation finally enacted by the Congress in 1934 established the National Archives as an independent agency within the executive branch. The National Archives Act provided for both an independent Archivist of the United States, to be nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate, and a National Archives Council, to be composed of representatives of both the executive and legislative branches. The council was to have the authority to establish regulations governing the transfer of records to the National Archives and to advise the Archivist on the disposition and use of records in his custody.Bearman 1993a, 685–686The Archivist of the United States was held to be in contempt of court (although this order was subsequently dismissed for technical reasons on appeal), because he failed to act to protect electronic records as soon as he knew they were going to be deleted and because Acting Archivist of the United States Trudy Petersen failed to develop and promulgate standards for governmentwide management of electronic office systems. Obviously the court did not believe that Petersen subsequently lacked authority, but they were applying a standard to the timing of actions with respect to electronic records.Poole 2018, 417Even so, many benchmarks remained: no women had yet served as Archivist of the United States; no women at the time directed any of the presidential libraries; and only five state archivists were women.