Posted by Leah Constantine
Since 1979, the Archivists Round Table has supported the efforts of professionals and institutions to promote and preserve archives and records management in the New York Metropolitan area. Its archives are a document to that history and consist of a growing repository of correspondence, professional development, events, workshops, advocacy, and overall history of New York archives and individuals.
Located in the archives at the New York Philharmonic, my exploration of ART’s archives began by creating an inventory of its materials starting with box 1, folder 1. As my time with the materials grew, so did my knowledge of its dynamic history and the many people that have contributed to its mission. ART’s archives are a testament to New York and its history, as well as the institutions that have preserved its communities and cultures.
The New York Philharmonic archives have been led since 1984 by Archivist and Historian Barbara Haws who has also led the Archivists Round Table as President and was founder of ART’s annual New York Archives Week. Haws has continued to support the history of ART by overseeing its responsible storage and supporting my attendance at the New York Philharmonic’s archives during my twelve weeks to explore ART’s records and share its history.
My experience exploring the archives left me more aware of the importance of archival efforts and the relationships it creates between individuals and organizations. ART's history responds to more than just archives, but important moments in our nation's history that have created major shifts in our culture. The collection of materials that make up this growing archive are a unique preservation of the narratives that came from influential members, individuals, and archival professionals during those moments in history. From my time in the archives, I've highlighted topics that I believe represent my most valued moments of discovery and provide a very brief overview of ART's dynamic history.
Creating responsible support for advocacy.
ART's abundant advocacy efforts have been part of its mission since its inception. Over time, advocacy within ART has grown in its local and national influence. Members of ART have contributed efforts related to preserving and funding archives and records, encouraging government action, supporting professional development, and sharing knowledge with the general public.
1999, Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund Informational flyer and support advocacy.
1990, New York Documentary Heritage Program Action call and fact sheet.
No date, Coalition for New York's Documentary Heritage, Action Call and Sample Letter to enact the Regional Historical Records Program Development Bill.
1986, Letter to Senator William V. Roth regarding President Reagan's inappropriate nomination of John Agresto for the position of Archivist of the United States.
Professional development in the many fields of archives and records management.
ART frequently sponsors and co-sponsors professional development workshops and educational programs that focus on the topics of archives and records management. Topics from the decades of workshops include religious archives, documenting AIDS, disaster awareness, and archival activism. While there are many more topics that ART has contributed to through these programs, all of them have been part of a unique partnership with speakers, locations, and sponsors. Many of these programs and workshops introduced new topics surrounding current events and highlighted their unique history that has always existed in archives and the relevance to documenting heritage.
2004, Women's History Month Program, March 11, 2004. Activism in the Archives: Women's Collections at the Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives.
2004, USA PATRIOT Act Program with Columbia University Libraries, September 27, 2004. The USA PATRIOT Act: Implications for Librarians, Archivists and All Americans.
1990, Program with State Archivist Larry Hackman, February 12, 1990. Advocacy in the Archives Profession.
Disaster relief and archival support.
Following the events of 9/11, ART responded to the immediate need for records recovery and the long-term need to document the people, organizations, and activities that were affected by the attack at the Trade Center. The group leading this initiative with the Archivists Round Table aimed to work in cooperation with other regional, state, and national concerns with disaster relief and documentation.
2001, ART Board Meeting, October 23, 2001. New York's Archivists, Librarians, and Records Managers Respond to the World Trade Center Tragedy.
2001, Meeting at New York University, September 24, 2001. New York Archivists and Records Managers Meeting on Responding to the World Trade Center Disaster.
2002, September Meeting of the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York, September 24, 2002. Archival Perspectives of Documenting the September 11th Tragedy.