Press/Journalists

Press Release
February 16, 2005

Allen Weinstein Becomes Ninth Archivist of the United States

Washington, DC. . . On Wednesday, February 16, Dr. Allen Weinstein, a noted scholar and professor of history and a recognized leader in global democracy issues, was sworn in as the ninth Archivist of the United States by Senator Richard Lugar at the U.S. Capitol. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Congressmen Jim Moran and Roy Blunt, former Congresswoman Barbara Kennelly, and Ambassador Max Kampelman also attended the ceremony.

At the swearing-in ceremony, Dr. Weinstein said, "In April, we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of National Archives independence. Under National Archivists during both Republican and Democratic presidencies, the tradition of non-political and highest professional attention to the work involved has been the norm. It will continue to be so on my watch, as will an effort to deepen the interaction with Congress and with other government agencies. . . This is a critical juncture for the National Archives. We live in a world of imperiled budgets, exponential dependence on electronic records and retrieval, unprecedented security and preservation concerns, and insufficient attention to civic and democratic education. To meet these and other challenges, we must work cooperatively and creatively. . . . The first 100 days of any transition are pivotal, and I plan to spend much of this period listening, learning, and working to design the next phase of the National Archives' future, a future which will be our responsibility to implement in years ahead."

Most recently Dr. Weinstein was a senior advisor at IFES (International Foundation for Election Systems). From 1985 through 2003, Dr. Weinstein was founder, President, and CEO of The Center for Democracy, a non-partisan, non-profit organization that fostered initiatives in democratic transitions abroad, and served as a bridge in issue dialogues between political parties in the United States. Recognition for his international contributions include the United Nations Peace Medal for "efforts to promote peace, dialogue and free elections in several critical parts of the world" (1986); The Council of Europe's Silver Medal (1990 and 1996); and awards from the Presidents of Nicaragua and Romania for his efforts on behalf of democratization in those countries.

Dr. Weinstein has held two Senior Fulbright Lectureships, served as a Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the American Council of Learned Societies, and was a Commonwealth Fund Lecturer at the University of London, among other awards and fellowships. In 1987 he delivered the Bicentennial Fourth of July Oration at Boston's Faneuil Hall, and from 1982-84 he directed the research study that led to creation of the National Endowment for Democracy and was Acting President of the Endowment.

Dr. Weinstein also brings strong academic credentials to the position as Archivist of the United States. He was University Professor and Professor of History at Boston University, 1985-89; University Professor at Georgetown University, 1981-1984; and, from 1981 to 1983, Executive Editor of The Washington Quarterly at Georgetown's Center for Strategic and International Studies. He served as a member of The Washington Post editorial staff in 1981. From 1966-81 he was Professor of History at Smith College and Chairman of its American Studies Program. Dr. Weinstein was a founding member in 1985 of the Board of Directors of the United States Institute of Peace, remaining a Director until 2001.

Publications by Dr. Weinstein include: The Story of America, 2002; The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America-The Stalin Era, 1999; Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case, 1997 (rev. ed.), which was nominated for the American Book Award; Freedom and Crisis: An American History; and Prelude to Populism: Origins of the Silver Issue, plus eight edited collections. His articles and essays have appeared in a wide range of scholarly and popular publications.

As Archivist of the United States, Dr. Weinstein will oversee the National Archives and Records Administration, an independent Federal agency created by statute in 1934. The National Archives preserves and makes available the permanently valuable records of the Federal government, ensuring for the public and the President, the Congress, and the Courts, ready access to essential evidence. At the National Archives, people may inspect the record of what government has done. It enables officials and agencies to review their actions and helps citizens hold them accountable. It ensures continuing access to records that document the rights of American citizens, the actions of federal officials, and the national experience.

Its 33 facilities include the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, the National Archives at College Park, 11 Presidential libraries, and 20 regional facilities nationwide. The National Archives also publishes the Federal Register, administers the Information Security Oversight Office, and makes grants of historical documentation through the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Among the National Archives' approximately 9 billion pages of materials that are open to the public for research nationwide are millions of photographs, maps, and documents, thousands of motion pictures and audio recordings, and millions of electronic records. Every subject relating to American history is covered in the records of the National Archives: Revolutionary War pension files, landmark Supreme Court cases, international treaties, legislative records, executive orders, public laws, and Coast Guard records.

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For more information, the press may contact the National Archives Public Affairs Staff at 202-501-5526.

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