Embracing the Power of Archives
by RANDALL C. JIMERSON, Western Washington University
60th President of the Society of American Archivists
N.B.: This is the full text of a shorter paper given as the 69th Presidential
Address at the Society of American Archivists annual meeting in New Orleans,
on August 18, 2005.
In my dream I am entering a temple. Its ornate fašade and tall spires
give me hope. I will find enlightenment here. I push open the massive door
and enter. The door clangs shut behind me. I am in a dimly lit room with
high windows that prevent the sunlight from reaching me. Despite the heat
outside it is cool here. A security guard approaches. The temple has become
The guard tells me to surrender my pens and put my briefcase in a locker.
I sit at a table. Guards and security cameras watch me constantly to prevent
escape or theft. I realize that I am hungry. A young woman hands me a menu.
The prison is now a restaurant.
"What do you want?" the waitress asks. The menu she hands me
does not list food items, only the names of food creators – General
Mills; Vlasic Foods International; Kraft Foods; Hormel. "May I suggest
something local?" She pulls down a menu for Touch of the Bayou, Inc.
It lists a series of categories, including the Bayou Magic brand. "Bring
me some Bayou Magic, please," I politely request.
Soon a cart arrives laden with several boxes. My food must be inside. I
open one box at a time – correspondence, reports, financial ledgers.
In the last box are recipes. Gumbo. Crawfish étouffé. Jambalaya.
The waitress recommends Gumbo. She brings me a box filled with okra, cayenne
peppers, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and other primary sources of nutrition.
After all this, I still have to cook my own meal.
Images of Archives
Changing images of the archives, as sites of power. The temple reflects the
power of authority and veneration. The prison wields the power of control.
The restaurant holds the power of interpretation and mediation. These represent
the trinity of archival functions: selection, preservation, and access. The
archives is a place of knowledge, memory, nourishment, and power. Archives
at once protect and preserve records; legitimize and sanctify certain documents
while negating and destroying others; and provide access to selected sources
while controlling the researchers and conditions under which they may examine
the archival record. As Eric Ketelaar has stated, both architecturally and
procedurally, archives often resemble temples and prisons, two seemingly opposite
sites of power. Archives embody these contradictions, and more.
Both George Orwell and George Lucas recognized that archives represent power.
In his novel 1984, Orwell declared:
Who controls the past, controls the future; who controls the present, controls
the past. The mutability of the past is the central tenet of Ingsoc. Past events,
it is argued, have no objective existence, but survive only in written records
and in human memories. The past is whatever the records and the memories agree
upon. And since the Party is in full control of all records, and in equally
full control of the minds of its members, it follows that the past is whatever
the Party chooses to make it.
Orwell repeatedly lamented the fragmentary record of the past and the resulting
gaps in our knowledge of historical events. In a 1943 essay he wrote, "When
I think of antiquity, the detail that frightens me is that those hundreds of
millions of slaves on whose backs civilization rested generation after generation
have left behind them no record whatever." This
was also a very personal concern. In his memoir of the Spanish Civil War, Orwell
stated, "It will never be possible to get a completely accurate and unbiased
account of the Barcelona fighting, because the necessary records do not exist.
Future historians will have nothing to go upon except a mass of accusations
and party propaganda." The silences of the archives,
the absence of records, most troubled Orwell.
George Lucas presents a more confident view of archives. In Star Wars,
Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Jedi Master Obi Wan Kenobi visits the
Jedi Temple Archives seeking the location of the planet Kamino. Archivist
Madame Jocasta Nu, a frail elderly woman, provides reference assistance,
but Kamino does not appear on the archives' star charts. She concludes:
"I hate to say it, but it looks like the system you're searching for
"That's impossible – perhaps the archives are incomplete."
"The Archives are comprehensive and totally secure, my young Jedi," came
the imposing response, the Archivist stepping back from her familiarity with
Obi-Wan and assuming again the demeanor of archive kingdom ruler.
"One thing you may be absolutely sure of: If an item does not appear
in our records, it does not exist." The two stared at each other for a
long moment, Obi-Wan taking note that there wasn't the slightest tremor of
doubt in Jocasta Nu's declaration.
It turns out, by the way, that the existence of the missing planetary system
had been erased, in an act of archival sabotage. The Jedi Archives may seem "comprehensive
and totally secure" but even this futuristic vision shows the limits of
archival control. The archivist's pose of omniscience is truly an illusion. However,
as Eric Ketelaar points out, the fact that Obi-Wan must physically enter the
Jedi Archives in his search shows the power of the archivist, who must mediate "between
brain and source." The role of the archivist is crucial
The Illusion of Neutrality
However much we protest our objectivity and neutrality, as archivists we cannot
avoid casting our own imprint on these powerful sources of knowledge. Since
the emergence of "scientific history" in the 19th century, historians
have relied on archives and other primary sources to buttress their interpretations
of the past. "Through the seminar, invented in the 1830s by a German professor
of history, Leopold von Ranke, the master teacher taught the techniques of
reading and dissecting historical documents," as Joyce Appleby, Lynn Hunt,
and Margaret Jacob explain. "Students learned to compare the documents
rigorously; newly opened state and church archives became places where truth
might be found through an interrogation of document after document." The archives would be a scientific laboratory for historical
investigation. Hilary Jenkinson stated the archivist's ideal of objectivity,
neutrality, and passivity in 1922:
The Archivist's career is one of service. He exists in order to make other
people's work possible. His Creed, the Sanctity of Evidence; his Task, the
Conservation of every scrap of Evidence attaching to the Documents committed
to his charge; his aim to provide, without prejudice or after-thought, for
all who wish to know the Means of Knowledge. The good Archivist is perhaps
the most selfless devotee of Truth the modern world produces.
As Elisabeth Kaplan points out, Jenkinson's appeal to 19th century canons
of positivism – even after the 20th century thinking of Einstein and
Freud, among others – seems in retrospect "a stunningly reactionary
statement." Yet nearly
a century later this is still the ideal held up to us by many of our colleagues.
Even if we were to accept the possibility of such neutrality and objectivity,
do we really want to be obsequious Uriah Heeps, handmaidens to history? I hope
we have higher aspirations. We certainly should have more self-respect than
this. If we pride ourselves on our humility we may end up like the man given
a small medal as the most humble person in town. He had it taken away when
he was seen wearing the medal in public.
The postmodernist perspective only recently seeped into the American archival
discourse, but it has already influenced our perspective on the traditional
core values of archives. As one scholar explains, "Postmodernism calls
into question Enlightenment values such as rationality, truth, and progress,
arguing that these merely serve to secure the monolithic structure of modern
society by concealing or excluding any forces that might challenge its cultural
is a fundamental, if unpleasant, truth in this postmodernist critique. Unfortunately
it is obscured in writings of many postmodernists by jargon, convoluted syntactical
gyrations, and a good dose of claptrap. As the postmodernist Godfather seems
to say: "I'll make you an offer you can't understand."
Archives are not neutral or objective. We heard this before the postmodernists
arrived, but they have reinforced our awareness of this problem. In 1970 Howard
Zinn, the radical historian, told an audience of archivists that the archivist's "supposed
neutrality" was "a fake." "The archivist, even more than
the historian and the political scientist, tends to be scrupulous about his
neutrality, and to see his job as a technical job, free from the nasty world
of political interest: a job of collecting, sorting, preserving, making available,
the records of the society," Zinn declared. However, he continued, "the
existence, preservation, and availability of archives, documents, records in
our society are very much determined by the distribution of wealth and power." Zinn
added that archival collections were "biased towards the important and
powerful people of the society, tending to ignore the impotent and obscure." Such bias derives from the basic assumptions
of archival practice. It is not conscious or deliberate. It is endemic.
The anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss clearly linked written documents
to economic and political power. "The only phenomena which, always and
in all parts of the world, seems to be linked with the appearance of writing
is the establishment of hierarchical societies, consisting of masters and slaves,
and where one part of the population is made to work for the other part," he
stated in 1961. Writing in early societies "was connected first and foremost
with power: it was used for inventories, catalogues, censuses, laws and instructions
to keep check on material possessions or on human beings." As Carolyn Steedman points out, "the European archive
came into being in order to solidify and memorialize first monarchical, and
then state power." Even the later founding of our National Archives
in 1934 legitimized democratic institutions and ideas of popular power. These
power relationships in archives affect private as well as public repositories.
As Patrick Quinn wrote more than thirty years ago, "Many traditional notions
of what types of primary source materials should be collected and from what
sectors of the population source materials should be solicited encouraged an
elitist approach to writing history, an approach that in effect ignored the
history of blacks and other minorities, women, working people and the poor."
In its most useful application to archival theory, postmodernism extends this
understanding of the power relationships that exist in archives. As Terry Cook
and Joan Schwartz have pointed out, "the records emerging from the creation
process are anything but natural, organic, innocent residues of disinterested
administrative transactions. Rather they are value-laden instruments of power." Elisabeth Kaplan found that
although both anthropologists and archivists claim to be "disinterested
selectors" both serve as "intermediaries between a subject and its
later interpreters, a function/role that is one of interpretation itself." Echoing
George Orwell, Kaplan concluded that, "This power over the evidence of
representation, and the power over access to it, endows us with some measure
of power over history, memory, and the past." Such power in the archives carries with it
a significant measure of responsibility. If the adage that power corrupts is
true, we must be on our guard.
Recognizing this power that we wield in the universe of knowledge, some of
us will be tempted to seek pseudo-scientific methods of distancing ourselves
from our decisions. We want to believe in our neutrality. When exposed with
our hands on the controls, we may wish to echo the Wizard of Oz, who told Dorothy
and her friends, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!"
Rather than hide from our power in the realm of history, memory, and the past,
I hope that we will embrace the power of archives and use it for the good of
mankind. Before looking at the responses to this challenge of using archival
power, we need to understand some of its manifestations. There are three aspects
of the power of archives that I would like to discuss briefly:
- the temple: control over social (collective) memory;
- the prison: control over preservation and security of records;
- the restaurant: the archivist's role as interpreter and mediator between
records and users.
In the archival temple, records of human activity achieve authority and immortality
(or at least its semblance). The very acts of selection and preservation set
some records apart from others and give them heightened validity. They represent
evidence, information, truth, and social memory. "Archivists need to realize
that appraisal is part of a larger process of building public memory and a
process of connecting to other societal events related to the past," Richard
Cox reminds us. As Michel-Rolph Trouillot states in Silencing the Past,
the "making of archives involves a number of selective operations: selection
of producers, selection of evidence, selection of themes, selection of procedures – which
means, at best the differential ranking and, at worst, the exclusion of some
producers, some evidence, some themes, some procedures." Trouillot continues: "History
does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some
of us debate what history is or was, others take it in their own hands." I take this as a call for action by archivists.
Archivists have long recognized that we are somehow in the "memory business," but
we have not always understood our role or the extent of our job description.
The idea that archivists play a role in shaping public memory, Cox suggests,
should affect "the identification of what records should reside within
the archives or be designated as archival in value." He sees archives
as "a symbolic way station on the road to a collective memory." What
we preserve in our archives represents a complex array of social values. As
Elisabeth Kaplan argued in an essay on archives and the construction of identity, "We
are what we collect, we collect what we are."  By preserving some records and not others,
archivists affect society's collective understanding of its past, including
what will be forgotten.
Archives, however, do not constitute the past, nor our social memory of the
past. René Magritte reminded us of this distinction with his famous painting
of a curved pipe, under which he wrote "Ce n'est pas une pipe." In
fact it was not a pipe, only a painted representation of a pipe. We should
not confuse archives – or history – with memory. In fact, after
researching his mother's stories of growing up in Ireland, historian Richard
White cautioned, "History is the enemy of memory. When left alone with
memories, historians treat them as detectives treat their sources: they compare
them, interrogate them, and match them one against the other." Archival
sources proved many of White's mother's memories to be false.
In this summer's blockbuster novel, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,
Professor Dumbledore promises to help the young wizard learn the secrets of
his past by accompanying him into the Pensieve, a magical device into which
people's thoughts and memories can be downloaded -- to be retrieved or explored
later. As they set out Dumbledore warns Harry, "I told you everything
I know. From this point forth, we shall be leaving the firm foundation of fact
and journeying together through the murky marshes of memory into thickets of
wildest guesswork." As
archivists, of course, we recognize that what Hogwarts School needed was a
Archives help us clarify the "murky marshes of memory" and substitute
documentation for guesswork. What archives provide is the record of an agreement
made at a certain time, by one or more persons, about individual actions, events,
and stories. Archives do not testify to the accuracy or truth of these accounts,
as Luciana Duranti has argued in her study of diplomatics, but rather to the
accuracy of how and when the account was created. Collectively, these records of the past provide
a corrective for human memory, a surrogate that remains unchanged while memory
constantly shifts and refocuses its vision of the past. Although the documents
and images in archival records do not visibly change, however, the postmodernists
remind us that our understanding and interpretation of them do constantly shift
The second site of archival power is the archival prison. From locked doors
to researchers' lockers, from closed stacks to reading room surveillance cameras,
archives often resemble prisons. The records are imprisoned (for their own
security, of course), but so are the researchers, who must consult records
in closely guarded chambers under vigilant surveillance. For a visual icon
recall the researcher in Citizen Kane, who consults the family records
in the Thatcher Library, a barren high-ceilinged room as intimidating as any
dungeon. Thirty years ago the Library of Congress Manuscripts Division actually
had an armed guard, pistol in his holster, perched on a platform overlooking
the research room.
Erik Ketelaar compares the archival reading room to Jeremy Bentham's panopticon, "a
prison where the inmates were kept under constant surveillance (pan-optical)
by guards in a central control tower." The noble arguments for preservation
and secrecy, Ketelaar suggests, are "rationalizations of appropriation
and power." As Martha Cooley's fictional archivist admits: "As an
archivist I have power over other people. I control access to materials they
desire. Of course this power has limits. A good archivist serves the reader
best by maintaining a balance between empathy and distance." Control equals
power. "The surveillance and discipline are ingrained in the archivists'
professional distrust of anyone other than the archivist using the archives," Ketelaar
concludes. "The rituals, surveillance, and discipline serve to maintain
the power of the archives and the archivist."
This element of archival control also extends to the processes of arrangement
and description. Wendy Duff and Verne Harris observe: "In naming, we bring
order to chaos. We tame the wilderness, place everything in boxes, whether
standard physical containers or standardized intellectual ones. In the realm
of descriptive standardization, using big boxes such as fonds or series, or
small boxes such as dates of creation or acquisition, we bring order to wild
realities." Archivists thus imprison not only their boxes
of records and their researchers, but also the meanings of the archival records
and identities of their creators. The archivist wields a power of interpretation
over the records in her custody – a term usually reserved for those arrested
by the police – and thus controls and shapes the meaning of these imprisoned
This power of interpretation appears most strongly in the archives as a restaurant,
where those hungry for truth or knowledge seek nourishment. Archival power
governs the research process, from the finding aids that may at first appear
to be strange and exotic menus of choices difficult for the first-time customer
to interpret, to the one-on-one consultation by which archivists mediate between
user and document. Just look at our menus! We reduce the complex life story
of a person to a "Bioghist" element, and the complexities of thousands
of documents to a "Scopecontent" note. As interpreters of the menu
we mediate between the customer and the records.
As Terry Cook and Joan Schwartz point out, the archivist plays a carefully
scripted role in this research drama, since "the practice of archives
is the ritualized implementation of theory, the acting out of the script that
archivists have set for themselves." Typically
archivists do not even recognize that they are playing a carefully designed
role in a performance through which the researcher and the archivist interact.
Cook and Schwartz contend that the archivist plays a critical part "as
mediator and interpreter, as an important shaper of the documentary record
of the past that will be passed to the future. The archivist is an actor, not
a guardian; a performer, not a custodian." They conclude: "The archival
performance should not only be consciously acknowledge, but enthusiastically
celebrated." It is this theatrical role that endows the
archivist with authority and power. In the archival restaurant, the waitress
welcomes the customer, interprets the menu, suggests an entrée or dessert,
and collects the money before the customer exits. It is a service role, but
it comes with a measure of power and requires a reassuring smile if one wants
a generous tip.
Archivists think of themselves as neutral, objective, and passive, lacking
power. There is a Rodney Dangerfield strain in archival discourse. "I
don't get no respect," we whine. But if knowledge is power, we have more
than our share. What we need to do, as Richard Cox reminds us, is transfer
some of the power within the records to the records professionals and their
Our challenge is to embrace the power of archives and to use it well. The
Jedi archivist should heed the wisdom of Yoda: "A Jedi uses the Force
for knowledge and defense, never for attack." Archivists can also use
the Force to make society more knowledgeable, more tolerant, more diverse,
and more just.
The first step is to abandon our pretense of neutrality. As Allan Spear, a
professor of history and Minnesota state senator, told an SAA audience in 1983, "The
concepts of neutrality and objectivity are impossible to achieve and, more
often than not, smoke screens to hide what are really political decisions in
support of the status quo. Inaction can have political consequences as far
reaching as action." Our performance as archivists,
our use of power, needs to be opened to debate and to accountability. As Terry
Cook and Joan Schwartz argue, "Power recognized becomes power that can
be questioned, made accountable, and opened to transparent dialogue and enriched
understanding." Once we acknowledge our bias we can avoid
using this power indiscriminately or, even worse, accidentally.
Archivists have already made many thought-provoking suggestions on how to
acknowledge and use the power of archives. Erik Ketelaar urges archivists to
open their decision-making to public scrutiny: "In a democracy, the debate
about selection and access should be a public debate, subject to verification
and control by the public." Paraphrasing
Abraham Lincoln, Ketelaar calls us to ensure "Archives of the people,
by the people, for the people."
Archivists' focus on the technical side of their duties sometimes obscures
their social and cultural responsibilities. Shirley Spragge warned in 1994
of an emerging "abdication crisis of archivists' cultural responsibility." Too
much emphasis on record-keeping systems, accountability, and evidence, John
Dirks adds, creates concern that "what could be termed as 'the right brain'
of the archival mission – our cultural role in preserving heritage, and
social memory – has been unfairly neglected, sidelined, and even de-valued." In
addition to holding accountable those leaders in politics, business, academics,
and other fields whose records they manage, archivists themselves, Dirks reminds
us, "will be held accountable by tomorrow's users, who depend on our making
well formulated, professional decisions that can stand the test of time. Indeed
we are vital players, not passive observers, of the relationship between history,
memory, and accountability." Power
carries responsibility. It also raises the stakes of what archivists do and
how we perform our roles.
Hilary Jenkinson set an unattainable ideal of the archivist as one who served
researchers but never engaged in interpretation of the records. However, as
Tom Nesmith asserts, "an act of interpretation is always at the heart
of the management and use of documents." The archivist's role in society
is "the assessment and protection of the integrity of the record as evidence," Nesmith
adds, "Thus the utility, reliability, and authenticity of archival records
are directly related to the ability of the archivist to interpret or contextualize
records as fully as possible, rather than based simply on observing and guarding
those attributes of records."
Accountability is at the heart of Orwell's fear of Big Brother's control over
public memory. As Milan Kundera wrote of the Czechoslovakians' efforts to preserve
their culture in the face of Soviet efforts to obliterate memories and compel
the silence of his people, "The struggle of man against power is the struggle
of memory against forgetting." As
Kenneth Foote observes, "For archivists, the idea of archives as memory
is more than a metaphor. The documents and artifacts they collect are important
resources for extending the spatial and temporal range of human communication." Archives provide essential benefits for society. "The
care which the nation devotes to the preservation of the monuments of its past
may serve as a true measure of the degree of civilization it has achieved," Waldo
G. Leland declared in 1912. "The chief monument of the history of a nation
is its archives, the preservation of which is recognized in all civilized countries
as a natural and proper function of government." Archives not only hold public leaders accountable, they also
enable all citizens to know the past.
Archives are therefore responsible to all citizens in a democratic society.
They play an important function that often goes unnoticed. Archives document
and protect the rights of citizens. Examples abound of archival records being
used in the public interest by holding public officials, corporate CEOs, university
administrators, religious leaders, and others accountable for their actions. Archives
and the Public Good: Accountability and Records in Modern Society, edited
by Richard Cox and David Wallace, provides fascinating case studies reflecting
the importance of records for accountability, access to information, and protection
of the rights of all citizens. Even
a partial list of topics is impressive: Nazi war criminals in Canada, the Iran-Contra
affair, IRS policies, the Brown and Williamson tobacco case, the Tuskegee syphilis
study, the South African State at the end of apartheid, and the history of
United States foreign relations. More recently, Elizabeth Adkins has described
the role of archives and documentary research in uncovering the truth behind
Ford Motor Company's "use of forced and slave labor under the Nazi regime."
A generation ago Gerald Ham challenged archivists to "provide the future
with a representative record of human experience in our time," and to "hold
up a mirror for mankind" so we could help people "understand the
world they live in." Although we may be less sanguine now than
then about our ability to do so, this is still a noble calling. At its heart,
Ham's challenge was to represent all of society in our archives, to give voice
to the poor, the impotent, and the obscure.
Archivists, both individually and collectively, must commit themselves to
ensuring that our records document the lives and experiences of all groups
in society, not just the political, economic, social, and intellectual elite.
In 1971 Howard Zinn urged archivists to "take the trouble to compile a
whole new world of documentary material, about the lives, desires, needs, of
ordinary people." This would help ensure "that the condition, the
grievances, the will of the underclasses become a force in the nation."
In responding to this challenge, archivists have made great strides. There
are more archives devoted to — or at least concerned with — documenting women,
racial and ethnic groups, laborers, the poor, gays and lesbians, and other
marginalized peoples. We can still do more. I hope we will aspire to improve
on our past successes. Archives also need to document the Christian right,
the "silent majority," and extremist groups on both ends of the political
spectrum, from the Ku Klux Klan and militia groups to eco-terrorists.
Paying attention to the need for accountability and documentation serves the
cause of human rights and social justice. "Archives not only aid in holding
today's organizations legally and fiscally accountable to society, they also
hold yesterday's leaders and institutions accountable, both in terms of morality
and effectiveness," John Dirks claims. The availability of archives is
essential to serve "a society's need for the prevalence of justice, and
the preservation of rights, and values." Archival
records have been used to rehabilitate people wrongly convicted of crimes under
a totalitarian regime, and to obtain restitution from their former oppressor.
As archivists we must strive, as Duff and Harris urge, "to investigate
the aspects of records that are not being described, and the voices that are
not being heard." However, in giving voice to the marginalized groups
in society, they remind us that we must be careful not to inject our own biases
and assumptions. "It is imperative that we not romanticize 'otherness,'" they
There is an inherent tension in documenting groups that have traditionally
been neglected or marginalized. Who owns their history? The controversy over
Native American graves and artifacts illustrates a problem of ownership that
affects other groups in society. One reason that African-Americans, ethnic
groups, gays and lesbians, and others have created their own repositories is
to retain control over their own documentation, over its presentation and interpretation,
and over the very terms of access. Among Native Americans, for example, there
are some rituals and traditions that only specified families within a tribe
are entitled to know about. The archival concept of open and equal access must
be modified to respect such cultural traditions. Jeannette Bastian describes the loss of cultural memory suffered
by the people of the Virgin Islands when the governmental records of Dutch
and American colonial rulers were removed to those respective nations. Too
narrow a definition of provenance led to a loss of control over the people's
archives, history, and memory.
Joel Wurl recounts an incident that vividly illustrates the power of archives
to represent and protect the history and collective memory of a community.
During the riots in Los Angeles following the Rodney King verdict, looter and
arsonists approached the Southern California Library for Social Studies & Research,
a major repository depicting contemporary social justice movements and under-represented
communities. "Standing guard, Building Manager Chester Murray responded
by telling them the library contained the history of African Americans, Latinos,
and working class people and persuaded them to leave it alone. Many of the
surrounding buildings were damaged or destroyed, but not the library." As
archivists we must strive to be as effective as Chester Murray in explaining
the importance of our archives and their social value.
SAA has responded to these challenges, but we can
and must do more. We have spoken out against secrecy in government; against
President Bush's Executive Order to control access to records of previous presidents;
and against the excesses of the USA Patriot Act. We have joined legal proceedings
to require open access to secret White House meetings, and to allow Unabomber
Ted Kaczynski to give his papers to an archival repository. We have secured
grant funds for "Strengthening Tribal Archives Programs," bringing
fifteen archivists to SAA annual meetings. We have identified as strategic
priorities: responding to the challenges of changing technology; ensuring that
archives and our profession reflect the diversity of society; and enhancing
public awareness of archives.
As we consider the symbolism and the substance of archives and the archival
mission, let us embrace the power of archives. Let us accept the solemn obligation
to use the Force for good and not for evil. Let us ensure that archives protect
the public interest rather than the privileges of the powerful elites in society.
May our archival temples truly reflect values worthy of veneration and remembrance.
May our archival prisons minimize locks and security and emphasize accountability,
preservation and access. May our menus be clear and understandable, and our
table service efficient, thorough, and helpful.
This is what it means to be a profession. We must serve all sectors of society.
Our goal should be to ensure archives of the people, by the people, and for
the people. By embracing the power of archives we can fulfill our proper role
 Eric Ketelaar, "Archival
Temples, Archival Prisons: Modes of Power and Protection," Archival
Science 2 (2002): 221-238.
 George Orwell, 1984,
quoted in Helen Willa Samuels, "Who Controls the Past," American
Archivist 49 (Spring 1986): 109.
 Orwell, A
Collection of Essays (Garden City, NY, 1954), 206.
 Orwell, Homage
to Catalonia (Boston, 1952), 150.
 Quoted in Ketelaar, "Archival
Temples," 221-222; see also Star Wars website: http://www.starwars.com/databank/location/jediarchives/ (accessed
4 August 2005).
 See Mary
Jo Pugh, "The Illusion of Omniscience: Subject Access and the Reference
Archivist," in Maygene Daniels and Timothy Walch, eds., A Modern Archives
Reader (Washington, DC, 1984): 264-77.
 Ketelaar, "Archival
 Joyce Appleby,
Lynn Hunt, and Margaret Jacob, Telling the Truth About History (New
York, 1994): 73.
 Hilary Jenkinson,
quoted in Elisabeth Kaplan, "'Many Paths to Partial Truths': Archives,
Anthropology, and the Power of Representation," Archival Science 2
 Kaplan, "Many
Fegan, quoted in Mark Greene, Midwestern Archives Conference paper, unpublished,
Zinn, "Secrecy, Archives, and the Public Interest," Midwestern
Archivist 2:2 (1977): 20-21.
Lévi-Strauss, quoted in Steven Lubar, "Information Culture and
the Archival Record," American Archivist 62 (Spring 1999): 18-19.
Steedman quoted in Francis X. Blouin, Jr., "Archivists, Mediation, and
Constructs of Social Memory," Archival Issues 24:2 (1999): 105.
M. Quinn, "Archivists and Historians: The Times They Are A-Changin'," Midwestern
Archivist 2:2 (1977): 8.
Cook and Joan M. Schwartz, "Archives, Records, and Power: From (Postmodern)
Theory to (Archival) Performance," Archival Science 2 (2002): 178.
 Kaplan, "Many
J. Cox, No Innocent Deposits: Forming Archives by Rethinking Appraisal (Lanham,
Maryland, 2004): 40-41. Trouillot quoted p. 41.
 Cox, No
Innocent Deposits, 234.
Kaplan, "We Are What We Collect, We Collect What We Are: Archives and
the Construction of Identity," American Archivist 63 (Spring/Summer
White, Remembering Ahanagran: A History of Stories (New York, 1998):
 J. K.
Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince (New York, 2005): 197.
Duranti, "Diplomatics: New Uses for an Old Science," Archivaria 28
(Summer 1989): 7-27.
 Ketelaar, "Archival
Temples": 227, 236-37.
M. Duff and Verne Harris, "Stories and Names: Archival Description as
Narrating Records and Constructing Meanings" Archival Science 2
and Schwartz, 173.
and Schwartz, 183.
 Cox, No
Innocent Deposits: 35.
Spear, "Politics and the Professions," Midwestern Archivist 9:2
and Schwartz, 181.
 Ketelaar, Archival
 Ketelaar, Archival
M. Dirks, "Accountability, History, and Archives: Conflicting Priorities
or Synthesized Strands?" Archivaria 57 (Spring 2004), 35, 49. Spragge
quoted p. 35.
 Tom Nesmith, "What's
History Got to Do With It?: Reconsidering the Place of Historical Knowledge
in Archival Work," Archivaria 57 (Spring 2004): 25-26.
Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, quoted in David Thelen, "Memory
and American History," Journal of American History 75 (March 1989):
E. Foote, "To Remember and Forget: Archives, Memory, and Culture," American
Archivist 53 (Summer 1990): 393.
by Waldo G. Leland, 1956," in Waldo G. Leland Papers, Manuscript Division,
Library of Congress.
J. Cox and David A. Wallace, Archives and the Public Good: Accountability
and Records in Modern Society (Westport, Conn., 2002).
Adkins, "A History of the Ford Motor Company Archives, With Reflections
on Archival Documentation of Ford of Europe's History," in Ford, 1903-2003:
The European History. Edited by Hubert Bonin, Yannick Lung, and Steven
Tolliday. (Paris: PLAGE, 2003), Vol. 1: 24-25.
 F. Gerald
Ham, "The Archival Edge," American Archivist 38 (January 1975):
 Ketelaar, "Archival
Temples": 230-31; John Fleckner, "'Dear Mary Jane': Some Reflections
on Being an Archivist," American Archivist 54 (Winter 1991): 8-13;
see also the extensive writings by Verne Harris on the archives of South Africa.
and Harris, 278-79.
with Juanita Jefferson, archivist and records manager for Lummi Nation, August
5, 2005. See also Michael F. Brown, Who Owns Native Culture? (Cambridge,
MA: Harvard University Press, 2003).
Allis Bastian, Owning Memory: How a Caribbean Community Lost its Archives
and Found its History (Westport, Conn., 2003).
Wurl, "Ethnicity as Provenance: In Search of Values and Principles for
Documenting the Immigrant Experience," paper presented at UCLA Center
for Information as Evidence Forum, April 20, 2005, pp. 2-3.