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OFFICERS AND STAFF
(As of January 2, 1936)
ROBERT D. W. CONNOR-Archivist of the United States.
Division of Accessions—Thomas M. Owen, Jr., Chief.
Division of Purchase and Supply-Frank P. Wilson, Chief.
LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL
THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES,
Washington, D. C., January 2, 1936. To the Congress of the United States :
In compliance with the provision of section 9 of the National Archives Act (Public, No. 432, 73d Cong., approved June 19, 1934), I have the honor to submit the first annual report of the Archivist of the United States, covering the fiscal year ending June 30, 1935. Respectfully,
R. D. W. CONNOR, Archivist.
FIRST ANNUAL REPORT OF THE ARCHIVIST
OF THE UNITED STATES
The “Act to establish a National Archives of the United States Government, and for other purposes” was approved on June 19, 1934. This act creates the Office of Archivist of the United States and provides that the Archivist shall be appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. In accordance with this provision the President appointed an Archivist on October 10, 1934.
HISTORICAL STATEMENT The problem of the archives, 1774-1800.-Since this is the first report of an Archivist of the United States, it seems appropriate to introduce it with a brief history of the movement that led up to the creation of his Office. The erection of the National Archives Building and the establishment of The National Archives marked the consummation of a movement for the scientific preservation and administration of the archives of the Government of the United States that was launched more than a century ago. The problem of the proper care of the public archives arose even before the organization of the Government itself. At its first meeting, the First Continental Congress, in 1774, conscious of the importance that posterity would attach to its proceedings, took the necessary steps to preserve the records of its deliberations and its actions. The result is found today in the 490 bound volumes of records that constitute the archives of the United States from 1774 to 1789, and, but for their preservation, our knowledge of the period of our history that gave us independence and constitutional government would be very meager indeed. Before the permanent removal of the seat of government from Philadelphia to Washington, in 1800, these archives had no permanent abiding place and were forced to keep up with the peregrinations of Congress from city to city, much to the inconvenience of the Government and to the damage of the records.
After the organization of the new Government under the Constitution and its subsequent removal to Washington, the problem of the preservation of the archives became even more acute. They increased rapidly, not only in volume but also in value, and there was not a single building in the new Capital City in which they could be safely deposited. This fact was sharply emphasized in 1800, when a fire destroyed a portion of the records of the War Department, and again in 1801, when the Treasury Department suffered a similar loss. A contemporary newspaper records that at the latter fire "the President of the United States was observed in the ranks for con