Happy Birthday to the National Archives! The act creating the National Archives was signed on June 19, 1934, by President Roosevelt. The creation of a national archives for the United States had begun earlier, however. In 1926 Congress appropriated $6.9 million (later increased to $8.5 million) for a national archives building.
The building was designed as a “temple of history” by John Russell Pope, the architect who designed the National Gallery of Art and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. The original plan for the National Archives Building had a courtyard into the center of the building. (It was quickly filled in to provide more storage space.) Ground was broken for the National Archives on September 9, 1931, and President Herbert Hoover laid the cornerstone of the building in February of 1933.
Construction was a huge task: installation of specialized air-handling systems and filters, reinforced flooring, and thousands of feet of shelving were needed to meet the building’s archival storage requirements. The exterior took more than 4 years to finish. But the number of records kept growing, and in 1993 a second National Archives building in College Park, MD, added 1.8 million square feet for storage of records.
The National Archives now also includes 13 Presidential libraries and many regional archives and temporary records centers across the country. You can read more about our history and our holdings here: http://go.usa.gov/vBW