Ohio History Journal

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Report of the Forty-eighth Annual Meeting 301

Report of the Forty-eighth Annual Meeting     301




It is quite obvious to research students that in the past thirty

years the amount of printed matter has increased in geometric

ratio. Today students are literally engulfed with a mass of ma-

terials, many of which are printed on a cheap wood-pulp paper

which crumbles to dust after a few decades, but which reflect

quite accurately the passing moods of our day. As this printed

matter has increased, a constantly increasing expenditure for the

collection and preservation of research materials has become neces-

sary. In fact, libraries must count on doubling their capacity every

twenty years. And despite the best efforts of libraries, historical

societies, and other repositories, much material which would be of

inestimable value to future students of our period is constantly

being destroyed. In the presence of this situation, the Social

Science Research Council and the American Council of Learned

Societies set up a joint committee on research materials, which

has its headquarters at Cleveland, and which should study what

is being done to collect and preserve the evidences of our civili-

zation, as well as what ought to be done to improve their collection

and preservation.

One phase of Joint Committee activities, which fortunately

brought the committee in touch with most historical societies of

the country, including the Ohio State Archaeological and His-

torical Society, was the attempt to lay out a plan for a nation-

wide survey of local archival material. Local archives have been

defined as written or printed books, papers, or maps, made and

received in pursuance of law by counties, cities, towns, and villages

in the transaction of public business. They consist of all the

papers and documents, whether manuscript or printed, which have

accumulated during the operation of local governmental units.

Local archives are of great importance in studying the gov-

ernmental, economic, military, legal, and social history of any

particular community, which may be taken as representative of

many other similar communities. In fact, they contain the largest

available amount of information on local history, revealing the