The Division of Archives and Records is part of the Office of Archives and History and the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. The name “Archives and Records” reflects the dual role of the division: to provide guidance concerning the preservation and management of government records to state, county, city and state university officials; and to collect, preserve and provide public access to historically significant archival materials relating to North Carolina. The first role is handled primarily by the Government Records Section, while the second is the focus of several specialized sections, which are collectively called the “State Archives of North Carolina.”
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History of the Division of Archives and Records
The earliest predecessor of the current Division of Archives and Records was the North Carolina Historical Commission. The commission itself was created by the State Literary and Historical Association, an independent society organized in 1900. At its first annual meeting in 1903, the association adopted a resolution requesting the General Assembly to establish a commission dedicated to the preservation of the state's history. Accordingly, the legislature later that year created the North Carolina Historical Commission and charged it with collecting and publishing valuable records and other historical materials pertaining to the history of the state.
In 1907, the legislature provided for a fulltime administrator known as the secretary, and expanded the commission's functions. Duties of the commission included acquiring records of state officials and local governments; editing historical records for publication; and encouraging the study of the state's history within the public schools. An act of 1935 charged the commission with safeguarding public records which no longer had "significance, importance, or value." This in effect was the state's first law regulating the disposition of public records.
In May 2012, the then Archives and Records Section, part of the Division of Historical Resources, became the Division of Archives and Records. The shift to division status reflects the size, responsibility, and complexity of North Carolina’s Archives and Records program and its responsible for both the state’s permanently valuable records and the management of the state’s current records.