Press/Journalists

Press Release
May 20, 2005

National Archives Names New Research Center For Former Archivist of the United States Robert M. Warner

WASHINGTON, D.C. Robert M. Warner, the Historian of the University of Michigan and dean emeritus of its School of Information, was honored Thursday night, May 19, 2005, by the Federal agency he once headed, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

NARA's new research center, located in its main building along the National Mall in Washington, has been named the Robert M. Warner Research Center.

The official announcement was made Thursday night at a reception at the National Archives Building in connection with the agency's 20th anniversary of its independence from the General Services Administration (GSA). Warner, as Archivist of the United States from 1980 to 1985, led the fight in Congress and elsewhere to make NARA an independent agency, effective April 1, 1985.

Allen Weinstein, current Archivist of the United States, praised Warner for working "tirelessly with literally hundreds of supporters within the Archives and among our constituent groups, the Congress and the White House to make independence a reality. While there were many roadblocks in the way, Dr. Warner persevered and finally won."

Warner's four-year fight for independence was won on October 19, 1984, when President Ronald Reagan signed legislation that removed the National Archives from GSA and made it an independent agency.

Warner thanked Weinstein and NARA for the honor, saying "Being Archivist of the United States was the greatest opportunity I ever had or will have."

Later, he said the honor was "kind of a surprise, but it's a very pleasant one. Its so good to relive the part of my life connected with this institution."

With Warner for the unveiling was his wife, Jane; his son, Mark Warner, and grandson, Tom Warner, 5, of Moscow, Idaho; and his daughter, Jennifer Cuddeback, and her husband, Jim, of Austin, Texas.

The agency's research center was created during a renovation of the building over the past several years, bringing together research services then located in other parts of the building and establishing some new services. The center is an important stop for researchers, especially family historians, looking for information from the U.S. Census records and other documents that date back to the founding of the country.

As the nation's recordkeeper, NARA is the custodian of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, which are on display in its main building, along with hundreds of other documents that tell the story of America and its people in an exhibition called the Public Vaults.

The agency maintains Federal records centers, archives, and Presidential libraries at 36 locations around the country. They include the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library in Ann Arbor as well as the Ford Museum in Grand Rapids. NARA also publishes the Federal Register and makes grants through its National Historical Publications and Records Commission to preserve and make available state and local records and the papers of prominent Americans.

Together, NARA's facilities hold more than 27 million cubic feet (equivalent to more than 81 billion pieces of paper) of original textual and nontextual materials from the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Federal Government. Its multimedia collections include more than 112,000 motion picture films; more than 6.4 million maps, charts, and architectural drawings; more than 236,000 sound and video recordings; more than 20 million aerial photographs; more than 19 million still pictures and posters; and more than 5.6 billion electronic records.

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For press information, please call the National Archives public affairs staff at 202-501-5526.

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