About the National Archives

National Archives History

Before the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) was created in 1934, individual government agencies were in charge of maintaining their own records. Some took great care of the materials, but many did not.

When NARA staff members first began searching for old government files to catalog and store in the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C., they found many disorganized records that had been put away carelessly. In many cases, fire insects, heat, water, and sunlight had caused quite a bit of damage.


National Archives & Records Administration 20th 1986-2005The National Archives and Records Administration became an independent Federal agency in 1985.

Prologue Magazine

Robert Warner The Battle for Independence

In a special Prologue article, Robert M. Warner, Archivist from 1980-1985, describes the fight he led to win the National Archives’ independence from the General Services Administration.

Full story

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001
Telephone: 1-86-NARA-NARA or 1-866-272-6272