Collection Policy For The State Archives In The Connecticut
Since 1855, the State Library has pursued a consistent policy of collecting
the State's official archival government records. In that year, the State Librarian
acquired from the Secretary of the State the early General Assembly records
to 1820 known as the "Connecticut Archives." In 1909, the General Assembly codified
this role of the State Library as the official state archival agency by granting
authority to the State Librarian to accept public records of enduring historical
value. Though the State Library did not call itself a state archives, members
of the governing State Library Committee and State Librarians identified the
agency as a "Hall of Records."
The State Library has also collected non-government archival records and
manuscripts. Major strengths of the State Archives manuscripts collection appear
under Section IV below.
Collections Activities of the State Archives
As it relates to collections, the mission of the Connecticut State Library
is "to preserve and make accessible the records of Connecticut's history and
In assisting the agency to fulfill this mission, the State Archives carries
out the following tasks as part of its collections policy:
Appraises, acquires, preserves and organizes Connecticut State government
records of enduring value; administers and acquires appropriate archival collections
of local government and non-government records pertaining to the history and
heritage of Connecticut.
Acquisition of Connecticut Government Records
Definition of Archival or Enduring Informational Value
For purposes of this policy, government records possess archival or enduring
value if they contain information which satisfies one or more of the following:
- Documents the evolution of organization, policies and practices of State
- Documents claims or petitions made on State government by citizens and
the disposition of said claims or petitions.
- Documents obligations and claims made on citizens by State government
and their disposition.
- Documents the legal and legislative history of the State.
- Contains information which is used by researchers for reasons other
than those for which the records were created, such as commercial, cultural,
educational, legal, public policy, health or medical, social science or
a vocational reasons.
Archival records may be in any format, including paper, photographs, film,
tape, disk and video. Government archival records are "public records" as defined
Section 1-200(5) of the Connecticut General Statutes (CGS).
Major Collecting Emphasis
The State Archives places major emphasis on acquiring archival records from
and/or about the following offices:
Local Government Records
- Office of the Governor
- Judicial Department (Supreme Court, Superior Courts, probate courts
and predecessor courts)
- Offices of Leaders of the General Assembly
- Offices of Committees of the General Assembly (In addition to original
bills accessioned through the Secretary of the State, the State Archives
will acquire records generated by committees in preparing special or interim
studies or records of special tasks forces, commissions and subcommittees
of the General Assembly.)
- Offices of elected State Officials
- Military units and the Office of the Adjutant General of the Connecticut
National Guard (see Section 11-6, CGS,
War Records Collection)
- All other state agencies, including defunct bureaus, divisions, departments
or predecessor agencies.
The State Archives supports retention of local government archival records
in the locality of origin but shall accept such records when offered if they
have enduring informational value and otherwise would be destroyed. The State
Archives will continue to administer and make available archival records of
the State's legal subdivisions (towns, cities, boroughs) already in its custody.
Papers of Governors
The State Archives shall continue to acquire and will accept private papers
of former Governors.
The State Archives shall acquire photographs generated by State government
agencies and offices and by non-government photographers which document any
aspect of Connecticut State government and its officials, e.g. official ceremonies
and events, projects and programs funded by State government, state-owned structures
and facility operations, and state employees. Acquisition of photographic images
shall be limited by provisions stated below under "Other Factors in Acquiring
Non-Government Archival Records or Manuscripts
Strengths of the Manuscript Collection
The manuscript collection in the Connecticut State Archives constitutes
one of the single most important non-government records collections in the State,
documenting Connecticut history from the seventeenth through the twentieth centuries.
Since the manuscripts complement record groups, the State Archives shall add
to the collection within the limitations set below.
The State Archives manuscripts collection provides important documentation
in the following subject areas of Connecticut history: politics; military, economic,
religious, social, maritime and naval history; Native American Indians; women;
education; individuals and families; architecture; professional organizations;
public health and medicine; transportation; law; agriculture; and public art
The manuscripts collection of the State Archives also contains items important
for documenting United States history and which have significant physical value.
Collecting Emphasis for Manuscripts
The State Archives shall not actively acquire manuscripts, but will maintain
and add to its collections of manuscripts when:
- Donors offer accretions to existing collections.
- Ex-Governors offer their "personal" or private papers.
- Connecticut library organizations offer their records.
- Donors offer manuscripts pertaining to military service of Connecticut
persons, especially in Connecticut military units.
- Connecticut veterans organizations offer records.
- Medical and public health-related organizations offer records which
pertain to public health issues and treatment at state hospitals.
The State Archives shall actively acquire manuscripts under extraordinary circumstances,
e.g., records are of significant informational or intrinsic value, but are in
danger of loss, destruction or inadvisable dispersal out of state because no
Connecticut repository will accept them.
The State Archives reserves the prerogative of accepting manuscripts that
fall outside the above priority areas, but will make every feasible effort to
identify and inform donors of potentially suitable Connecticut repositories.
Other Factors in Acquiring Archival Records
The following apply to governmental and non-governmental archival records:
In making the final decision to acquire archival records, the State Archives
shall consider the following
- Ability of the State Library to provide suitable space, staffing, supplies
and equipment. While the lack of one or more of these does not constitute
a compelling reason for refusing archives and manuscripts, deficiency in
one or more may constitute grounds for a temporary delay in their acquisition.
During periods of severe deficiency in any of these areas, the State Archives
will give priority to new accessions of archival State governmental records
- Ability of the State Library to provide sufficient support to preserve
and provide access to archival records.
- Confidentiality and Freedom of Information. The State Library conforms
to all statutes, rulings and regulations pertaining to access. Confidentiality
by itself does not constitute grounds for refusing to acquire government
records, but at the time of archival appraisal, the transferring government
agency must enumerate and cite the specific legal basis for closing government
records and the conditions under which closed records can be examined. The
State Archives may accept manuscript records with access restrictions, but
shall make every attempt to secure manuscripts without restrictions, or
in the Deed of Gift determine a date for lifting access restrictions and
the conditions under which access may be permitted.
The State Archives shall acquire motion picture films, video cassettes,
audio recordings, machine readable records and other records on non-traditional
storage media only for those records within the above defined categories. The
State Archives reserves the right to refuse records falling within the collection
policy if it cannot reasonably assume that it will have the necessary resources,
including staff, working equipment or proper storage facilities to address the
records' special conservation and access requirements.
The ability or inability of the State Archives to accept non-paper formatted
archival records shall not be a factor in designating archival records on retention
schedules or on requests for disposals. If the State Archives cannot accept
such records, staff will work with the generating authority and Office of the
Public Records Administrator to ensure proper retention.
In cases of reformatted archives, especially but not limited to those on
microfilm, the State Archives prefers that agencies and donors provide two copies
of the records whenever possible, to allow for a security copy and a use copy.
Security copies will be the negative or earliest generation print, diskette,
tape, etc., available to provide the cleanest records available.
For machine readable records, the State Archives cannot possess and maintain
every possible piece of hardware and software utilized within state government
and the private sector. Therefore, the State Archives reserves the right to
require that agencies utilizing unique hardware and software provide the State
Archives with paper copies of any records scheduled as permanent/archival or
appraised to possess historic value when presented for disposition.
The State Archives may acquire government records which lack high informational
value but which possess compelling intrinsic value, as defined by Staff Information
Paper 21 of the National Archives and Records Administration entitled, Intrinsic
Value In Material: "Intrinsic value is the archival term that is applied to
permanently valuable records that have qualities and characteristics that make
records in their original form the only archivally acceptable form of preservation.
Although all records in their original form have qualities and characteristics
that would not be preserved in copies, records with intrinsic value have them
to such a significant degree that the originals must be saved."
Records determined to have intrinsic value meet one or more of the following
Procedures for Acquiring Historical Records
- Physical form that may be a subject for study if the records provide
meaningful documentation or significant examples of the form.
- Aesthetic or artistic quality.
- Unique or curious physical features.
- Age that provides a quality of uniqueness.
- Value for use in exhibits.
- General and substantial public interest because of direct association
with famous and historically significant people, places, things, issues
or events in Connecticut.
- Significance as documentation of the establishment or continuing legal
basis of an agency.
- Significance as documentation of the formulation of policy at the highest
executive levels when the policy has significance and broad effect throughout
or beyond the agency.
The State Archives acquires government records under Sections 11-4c and
11-8a, CGS. Legal and physical transfers
of government records require completion of the Memorandum of Transfer. Responsibilities
of state agencies in preparing records for transfer, in transferring records
to the State Library, and in completing the Memorandum of Transfer are contained
in General Letter 1A issued by the State Archives.
The State Archives shall use the Deed of Gift to Connecticut State Library
in acquiring non-government archival records. Under provisions of the Deed,
the State Librarian countersigns on behalf of the State Library Board, which
acquires gifts in accordance with Chapter 188.
Procedures for Loaning Archival Records
The State Archives loans archival materials under provisions of "Requirements
for Loan of Original Archival Records from the Connecticut State Library." All
loans will be authorized by the State Librarian or State Archivist and borrowers
must complete the "Loan Agreement for Archival Records" prior to receiving a
decision on the loan.
Transferring Archival Records from the State Library
Procedures for the transfer of archival records to other repositories
appear in Sections 11-8a-5 to 11-8a-7 of Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies.
Under the authority granted by P.A. 88-216, Section 2(e), the Connecticut State
Library Board must approve these transfers.
Approved by the Connecticut State Library Board at its August 22,
1991 meeting. The State Archivist welcomes comments and constructive suggestions.
Prepared by the State Archives, Connecticut State Library, 11-96.