Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][merged small][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

79-185

[blocks in formation]
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Publication of this handbook represents a particularly significant milestone in the Senate's efforts to improve the quality and accessibility of its historically valuable records. Fifty-one years ago, the Senate established the initial milestone through its decision to transfer its permanent records to the newly opened National Archives Building. Ever since Congress moved to Washington in 1800, Senate clerks had followed the practice of sending noncurrent records to the Capitol's attic and basement storerooms and promptly forgetting about them. Over the years, war, vermin, and souvenir hunters ravaged these documents. In 1927 a young clerk in the Office of the Secretary of the Senate discovered old records stacked in boxes and strewn across the floor of a basement storeroom. Realizing that he was standing on an official-looking document, he later recalled that it bore two important markings—the print of his heel and the signature of Vice President John C. Calhoun.

During the following decade, personnel in the Office of the Secretary of the Senate searched the Capitol Building, finding in more than fifty separate locations records dating from the First Congress. Early in 1937, an appraiser from the National Archives examined the resulting collection and found that many records were dirty, water-damaged, and brittle. In spite of their poor condition, the examiner concluded: "From the standpoint of historical as well as intrinsic interest, this is perhaps the most valuable collection of records in the entire government. It touches all phases of governmental activity and contains a vast amount of research material that has

The growth of minority party staffs and the addition to each committee unit of members' personal staff representatives vastly increased the number of persons creating potentially valuable records. The introduction of office automation systems, with their efficient capacity to eliminate noncurrent documents, further complicated efforts to retain files of permanent worth. In 1981 party control of the Senate shifted for the first time in twenty-six years. This event stimulated a fundamental reevaluation of Senate records management and disposition procedures, as well as a major transfer of long-held records from committee storerooms to the National Archives.

In response to these developments, the Secretary of the Senate established the position of Archivist within the Senate Historical Office, and recruited Karen Paul from the National Archives to undertake the responsibilities of this challenging assignment. In 1985 Karen Paul produced Records Management Handbook for United States Senators and Their Repositories, which has since become an indispensable reference source for senators and the libraries to which they donate their office files and personal papers.

The present volume is intended as a companion to the 1985 publication. Special thanks are due to the dozens of committee staff members and staff of the Senate Computer Center Education Services who have constructively reviewed earlier drafts and have generously shared their insights. I particularly appreciate the assistance of the National Archives' Legislative Archives Division, under the able direction of R. Michael McReynolds, and the Machine-Readable Archives Branch under the direction of Edie Hedlin. Barry Wolk and John Steen in the Senate Office of Printing Services, Liz McAlhany, Special Assistant for Information Systems in the Office of the Secretary, and John Hamilton in the Senate Historical Office, generously contributed their expertise to this project. Elizabeth Hornyak Morrison skillfully prepared the automated format from which the volume was published. Finally, I extend deepest appreciation to Karen Paul. I am certain that, in the years ahead, those involved in the creation, management, and use of permanent Senate records will be grateful for the high professional standards that she brought to the conception and writing of this important handbook.

sier been usemount of

Since 1937, under provisions currently set forth in Senate Rule XI, the Senate has directed its Secretary to "obtain at the close of each Congress all the noncurrent records of the Senate and of each Senate committee and transfer them to the National Archives and Record Administration, subject to the orders of the Senate." The Secretary's responsibility includes the establishment of standards to ensure that permanently valuable records are identified and that only records of this enduring quality are preserved for future generations.

The past fifteen years have brought major challenges for the management of the Senate's permanent records. In the mid-1970s, the Senate significantly expanded staff resources available to its more than one hundred committees and subcommittees.

Walter J. Stewart Secretary of the Senate

CHECKLIST: COMMITTEE RECORDS OF PERMANENT VALUE

While each committee is unique in terms of staffing patterns, workload, and area of jurisdiction, all committees generally perform similar functions. Basic files, listed by functional categories, should be retained permanently, either in their totality or a sample, depending on the file, for eventual deposit with Senate records at the National Archives. REVIEW AND REPORTING OF LEGISLATION Minutes of business meetings and "mark-ups" Staff memoranda and working papers retained by

chief counsel, staff director, and professional staff members Hearing transcripts Legislative "bill” files Chronological or “reading" files Communications with Senate leadership and commit

tee members Electronic files, documentation, and indexes Audio-visual materials Press releases General correspondence or "subject" files Record of roll call votes OVERSIGHT/INVESTIGATIONS Staff memoranda and working papers retained by

chief counsel, staff director, and professional staff members Communications with Senate leadership and commit

tee members Hearing transcripts, one series for open hearings, a

separate for closed Briefing materials Oversight/investigative case files, including subpoe

naed documents Electronic files, documentation, and indexes Press releases Studies, reports, surveys, questionnaires, exhibits General correspondence or "subject” files Record of roll call votes Audio-visual materials CONSIDERATION OF NOMINATIONS Staff memoranda and working papers retained by

chief counsel, staff director, and professional staff members Communications with Senate leadership and commit

tee members Hearing transcripts Briefing materials

Nominee biographical and financial data files, com

mittee questionnaires Record of roll call votes Executive reports CONSIDERATION OF TREATIES Staff memoranda and working papers retained by

chief counsel, staff director, and professional staff members Communications with Senate leadership and commit

tee members Hearing transcripts Briefing materials Record of roll call votes Executive reports OFFICIAL COMMUNICATIONS Executive communications Petitions and memorials Presidential messages Reports required by law CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET PROCESS President's budget request Committee views and estimates reports Congressional budget office reports Hearing transcripts Minutes of committee business and “mark-up” meet

ings Appropriations "bill" files Revenue "bill" files Budget resolution files Budget authority rescission and deferral files Correspondence and staff memoranda retained by

chief counsel, staff director, and professional staff members Staff analytical memoranda concerning economic

conditions, president's economic assumptions, and

alternative economic measures Communications with Senate leadership and commit

tee members OFFICE MANAGEMENT Committee policy memoranda List of current staff and their area of specialization Staff organization chart or memo File manual Committee Calendar Committee activities report Committee annual budget requests, supplemental

material, and authorization hearing transcripts

« PreviousContinue »