National Archives History Sources
Interested in learning more about National Archives History? Below are several relevant publications for doing historical research.
Archivists of the United States
National Archives Staff
National Archives Building
National Archives Nationwide
National Personnel Records Center (NPRC)
Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights
History of Records
General National Archives History
Prologue’s Story—So Far: Magazine Celebrates 49 Years of Discovering History (Winter 2018) David McMillen traces the history of the National Archives' magazine.
“P.S.: You had better remove the records” Early Federal Archives and the Burning of Washington during the War of 1812 by Jessie Kratz (Summer 2014)
Moving Out, Moving In: The National Archives’ Important Role When the Presidency Changes Hands (Winter 2016) David McMillen explains the National Archives role in the Presidential transition process.
Saving the Moving Images of WWI (Fall 2014)
Our Story (Summer 2009) On June 19, 1934, the National Archives was born. Seventy-five years later it has grown into the nation's record.
The NHPRC: Extending the Archives' Reach (Summer 2009) Kathleen Williams traces the 75-year history of the National Archives' grant-making arm.
Shaping the National Archives (Winter 2009) Greg Bradsher recounts how Wayne Grover, the third Archivist of the United States, placed the building blocks of the agency as it is known today.
Challenges: Those We Met, Those We Face (Winter 2008) The Archivist looks at the road ahead for the National Archives on the eve of its 75th anniversary.
Escorting a Presidency into History (Winter 2008) When a President leaves office, the National Archives is standing by to take custody of his records, which will help determine how history treats him.
FDR, Archivist: The Shaping of the National Archives (Winter 2006) In the spring of 1934, FDR took a keen interest in the newly established National Archives.
Secrecy and Salesmanship in the Struggle for NARA's Independence (Spring 2005) Robert Warner, sixth Archivist of the United States, recounts the steps toward an independent National Archives in the 1980s.
Creating the National Archives (Summer 2004) Seventy years ago, on June 19, 1934, FDR signed into law "an Act to establish a National Archives of the United States Government."
Construction Projects Now Under Way Will Protect Records of the Past . . . And of the Future (Spring 2003) The National Archives and Records Administration is upgrading its facilities to better preserve the records and serve our customers.
Historic Murals Conservation at National Archives Building (Spring 2003) Barry Faulkner's depiction of the presentations of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution will light up the Rotunda after major restoration work.
Rotunda Reopening Launches New Era for National Archives (Summer 2003) The Charters of Freedom return to public display, and the National Archives Experience gets ready to take off.
Fort Archives: The National Archives Goes to War (Summer 2003) In wartime Washington, a young agency proves its worth in the drive for victory and wins over skeptics who question its value.
Renewing the Spirit of Independence (Fall 2003) Celebrates the return of the Charters of Freedom, the reopening of the Rotunda of the National Archives Building, and the first phase of the National Archives Experience.
A New Era Begins for the Charters of Freedom (Fall 2003) Conservators reveal details of their work on our founding documents.
A Top-to-Bottom Renovation for the National Archives Building (Fall 2003) The grand structure gets an upgrade after 68 years.
Travels of the Charters of Freedom (Winter 2002) Our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, had a long and sometimes perilous existence before being entrusted to the National Archives in 1952.
Introduction by Timothy Walch
The Struggle to Establish a National Archives in the United States by Donald R. McCoy
A Temple to Clio: The National Archives Building by Virginia C. Purdy
The National Archives: The Formative Years, 1934-1949 by Rodney A. Ross
The National Archives: Serving Government, the Public and Scholarship, 1950-1965 by James Gregory Bradsher
The National Archives: Substance and Shadows, 1965-1980 by Trudy Huskamp Peterson
The National Archives: A Memoir, 1980-1985 by Robert M. Warner
Ambacher, Bruce I., Thrity Years of Electronic Records [Landham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2003]
Flippin, Percy Scott, The Archives of the United States Government: A Documentary History [Washington DC: Division of Research, National Archives, 1938].
Gondos, Victor, J. Franklin Jameson and the birth of the National Archives, 1906-1926 [Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1981].
Gustafson, Milton O. " The Empty Shrine: The Transfer of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to the National Archives " The American Archivist 39:3 (July 1976) 271-285.
Jones, H. G., The Records of a Nation: Their Management, Preservation, and Use. [New York: Atheneum,1969].
McCoy, Donald R., The National Archives: America's Ministry of Documents, 1934-1968. [Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1978].
Moshe, Erik., Reflections of Two American Archivists on the Soviet Union’s Archives. 
Poole, Alexander., "Harold T. Pinkett and the Lonely Crusade of African American Archivists in the Twentieth Century," The American Archivist (2017) 80 (2): 296–335.
Stender, Walter W. and Evans Walker, "The National Personnel Records Center Fire: A Study in Disaster," The American Archivist (1974) 37 (4): 521-549.
Viola, Herman J., The National Archives of the United States. [New York: H.N. Abrams, 1984].
Warner, Robert Mark, Diary of a Dream: a History of the National Archives Independence Movement, 1980-1985. [Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1995].
Women's History Month Spotlight: National Archives Employee Adrienne Thomas, 2023. This short video looks the career of former Acting Archivist Adrienne Thomas, and focuses on her role in the building of the National Archives at College Park.
Women's History Month Spotlight: National Archives Employee Helen Beach, Inventor of the Beach Wagon, 2023. The National Archives looks back at the career of employee Helen Beach and her World War II era invention of a wooden wagon to transport records during a time of metal shortages.
History of Census Records and the National Archives, May 18, 2022. As part of a virtual genealogy series on the census, Historian Jessie Kratz presents the history of census records in relation to the history of the National Archives.
The National Archives at College Park, MD - 20th Anniversary, 2014. The National Archives building in College Park, MD, opened to the public for research on January 4, 1994. In celebration of its 20th anniversary, this documentary presents NARA staff recollections and remembrances of the design, construction, and move to “Archives II.”
If These Walls Could Talk, September 24, 2009. Archivist Rick Blondo shares the history of the National Archives and its flagship building in Washington, DC, from the moats surrounding 'Fort Archives' and its elaborate facades, to the sound stages used in the blockbuster film "National Treasure."
Your National Archives, 1955. A promotional motion picture highlighting the breadth of the National Archives' holdings and activities.
Origin Stories: Discovering the Records of the National Archives, October 27, 2014. In a live program in the McGowan Theater of the National Archives Building, archivist Alan Walker discussed the history of the of the National Archives through its records.
Meyer Fishbein Remembers, November 20, 2013. The National Archives Assembly hosted a live interview and audience Q&A session with Mr. Meyer Fishbein, a long-time appraisal archivist (retired 1980), SAA Fellow, and electronic records pioneer. Rod Ross, an archivist at the Center for Legislative Archives conducted the interview.
History of the National Archives Holdings, November 21, 2011. From the War Department Fire in 1800 to the establishment of the National Archives in 1934, archivist Connie Potter looks at why some records did not survive and how others just made it to the National Archives. Her focus is on records of genealogical interest.
Most issues of Prologue magazine are available online from the HathiTrust Digital Library.