Course:1: Archives and Archivists
Lesson:Lesson Three: Historical Record Collections
Topic:Who Keeps Historical Records?


Who Keeps Historical Records?

Historical records are found in all types of organizations:

  • Businesses
  • Educational institutions
  • Ethnic groups
  • Formal archives
  • Local government offices
  • Local historical societies and organizations
  • Public libraries
  • Regional museums
  • Religious organizations
  • Service organizations

Some may have organized historical records programs already; some may just be getting started. These are just a few of the organizations that place a high value on these prized historical records. All such organizations need to be able to provide a basic level of care and handling for their historical records. 

Example iconThe Local History and Genealogy Department of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County has more than 4,400 items, including a wide variety of how-to guides. It employs one library staff member to assist users.

The Saint Lawrence County Historical Association is a not-for-profit organization that researches, collects, preserves, and interprets Saint Lawrence County History. Among its resources for genealogical research are a card index, family file, business directories, county and township histories, and other reference books. The town files can be searched for information on non-genealogy related subjects. Its collections include the Walter B. Leonard Collection. Leonard was a vaudevillian, composer, and writer from Canton, NY. The Archives contains his original manuscripts, music, playbills, ephemera, photos, correspondence, and posters from the early 20th century.

The Alaska Native Language Center is a center for research and documentation of the twenty Native languages of Alaska. It is internationally recognized as the major center in the United States for the study of Eskimo and Northern Athabascan languages. The center houses an archival collection of more than 10,000 items, virtually everything written in or about Alaska Native languages, including copies of most of the earliest linguistic documentation, along with significant collections about related languages outside Alaska.

photo of costumed women from the collection

collection of photographs from the collection

Local History and Genealogy Department of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County.


St. Laurence County Historical Association building
St. Lawrence County Historical Association

 archives photo 
St. Lawrence County Historical Association archives

Native Alaskan archive
The Archive at the Alaska Native Language Center is a university-based archival collection.