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Module 1: History and Mission of NARA
Page 11 of 128
Why NARA Was Formed
d Images of three buildings appear and are then seen on fire symbolic of the fire experienced by the War Office, the Treasury Department, the White House, and the Patent House. An image of the NARA building then appears with the logos of the American Historical Association, the American Legion, and the Daughters of the American Revolution appearing next to it. These images disappear and an image of president Franklin Delano Roosevelt with the FDR statement appears next to the National Archives building's image.

For over a century, each Government agency maintained its own records. Over time, however, the threat to these dispersed records became undeniable. In the 1800s, the War Office, Treasury Department, White House, and Patent Office all experienced fires, and irreplaceable records were destroyed.

In 1877, the Army Quartermaster General proposed construction of a single fireproof hall for Federal records. Over the decades that followed, a variety of new organizations, including the American Historical Association, the American Legion, and the Daughters of the American Revolution, called for a single agency to maintain the Government's historical records. By this time, Federal agencies were overflowing with files and papers. Finally, in 1934, the National Archives was established during the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

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