n.the seminal work Manual for the Arrangement and Description of Archives by Samuel Muller, Johan A. Feith, and Robert Fruin, originally published in Dutch in 1898 and translated into English by Arthur H. Leavitt in 1940Posner 1942, 146–147Great masses of papers were singled out for Belgium and shipped to the Archives générales du Royaume at Brussels where they immediately became dormant. Talking about this transaction in 1924, R. Fruin, co-author of the famous Dutch manual, mentioned that these papers had been kept wholly unarranged for decades and that even then he was very much in doubt whether or not they had been described in an inventory.Holmes 1961, 345–346By the time the Dutch manual was rendered into English by Leavitt (1940), it served chiefly to confirm these principles and to explain them, in areas of arrangement and classification, more clearly and systematically. These two volumes now have been cornerstones of training literature for almost a quarter century, and have been assigned to and read by students in all classes in archival administration in the United States.Lytle 1980a, 71Physical rearrangement, sometimes proposed to serve users, generally is rejected; the famous late nineteenth-century Dutch manual, for example, specifically rejects the rearrangement of archives to suit the needs of historians.Ketelaar 1996, 31Fifty-five years ago, in 1940, the American edition of the Dutch Manual for the Arrangement and Description of Archives by Muller, Feith, and Fruin, was published.Cook 1997, 22The importance of the Dutch Manual rests on its codification of European archival theory and its enunciation of a methodology for treating archives.Horsman, Ketelaar, and Thomassen 2003, 268–269The Dutch Manual was regarded abroad as “a bible for modern archivists,” [footnote] a bible that preached the principles of structure and of provenance and that prescribed a methodology based on the archive’s own features (and not drawn from library methods).Greene and Meissner 2005, 246Indeed, the literary warrant for brevity goes back at least to the 1898 Dutch manual that is often viewed as the foundational modern expression of arrangement and description theory.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.” In spite of the publication, over the ensuing years, of manuals of practice by people like Lucile Kane, Ruth Bordin, and Robert Warner, and the translation into English of the Dutch manual by Muller, Feith, and Fruin, archival description in the United States remained eclectic and institution-specific because archivists could maintain the myth that each institution was unique and needed its own approach to description and finding aids.Trace 2021, 328Although influenced by the principles and practices espoused in the Dutch manual and by the work of Hilary Jenkinson and Theodore Schellenberg (who visited Australia in 1954), the debates and discourses that played out in this country’s archival literature helped to create a uniquely Australian approach to provenance and its application in an archival context.
The authors, influenced by French and German archival theory, articulated in Manual for the Arrangement and Description of Archives the principles of provenance and original order, thus putting forth a methodology for managing archives that departed from library methods. The work has been widely translated into many languages including French, German, English, Italian, Portuguese, and Chinese, and its influence on archival practice has been so strong and widespread that it is referred to as the Dutch manual and is considered “a bible for modern archivists.” The English translation <https://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015057022447> was reissued by the Society of American Archivists in 2003.