The Arizona State Museum was created in 1893 by an act of the Territorial Legislature and is located on the University of Arizona campus. The museum's orientation is anthropological and between 1915 and 1979 the directorship of the museum was held by the chairman of the Department of Anthropology. As a result, the Arizona State Museum Archives is a repository for research conducted by the museum as well as work produced through the Department of Anthropology.
In 1958 Father Victor R. Stoner's library and archival materials were donated to the museum. Then-director Emil W. Haury combined Stoner's library with the Gladys Sayles Memorial Library (comprised primarily of Bryon Cummings' personal library and the UA Department of Anthropology Club's "reading collection") to create the Arizona State Museum Library. In 1962 the library moved into the newly built Anthropology Building (now the Haury Building), and no later than November of 1964, Room 317A of the library had been designated the "Archive Room." The first materials there consisted primarily of archaeological field notes from projects done by Cummings, Haury, and their students as well as an extensive collection of correspondence and reports sent to Haury by J.W. Simmons, an avocational archaeologist.
Added to these archaeological notes were the "Gila-Sonora Files" assembled by Edward H. Spicer and Edward P. Dozier, both professors in the UA Department of Anthropology. These files contained a wide variety of resource materials related to the cultural history of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. From 1967 to 1974 ASM Librarian John V. Baroco and students Susan Lobo, Joe Barr, V. Smyer, S. Roggia, and Judy Reis inventoried and prepared tables of contents for some 500 documents, manuscripts and sets of field notes.
Baroco's successor as ASM librarian was Hans Bart (from 1974 to 1987), who supervised the continuing acquistion of archival materials. In 1974 ASM Director Raymond H. Thompson formally designated the Arizona State Museum Archives as a unit within the library. Judy Reis, who had returned as part of the library staff, processed additional materials as time permitted, primarily in 1978 and 1979. In 1984 a permanent, part-time archivist position was established, and was held by Jeanne Armstrong until 1992.
It was during this period that the archives saw an explosion in the quantity of contract archaeology project records. In part because of the recognition of how closely interrelated the majority of the documents in the archives were to the history and interpretation of most of the archaeological and ethnographic artifacts curated by the museum, the archives were administratively transferred from the library to the collections division in July 1986. Maps from completed projects were transferred from the archaeology division to the archives in 1991. Care of the sound recordings collection was transferred from the museum registrar to the archives in 1992. In July 1996, the archivist position was made full-time.
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