GAO & NARA Spar Over Electronic Records Archive Cost

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued a report questioning the completion date, final cost and capabilities of the National Archives and Records Administration’s (NARA) Electronic Records Archive (ERA). Since 2001, NARA has been working to develop an IT system to preserve and provide access to massive volumes and all types of electronic records. NARA has repeatedly revised the program schedule and increased the estimated costs for completion of the project.

Library of Congress Obtains Rare Revolutionary-Era Map

The Library of Congress recently announced that philanthropist David M. Rubenstein had given it stewardship of the first map printed in North America, depicting the boundaries of the new American nation. The map, which was printed in early 1784, is considered the best preserved of those few copies in existence. The map will be displayed at the Library of Congress in the early spring and will be available for public viewing for five years.

NARA Hosts Panel Discussion on Archival Theft

All repositories of historical records and artifacts are faced with the challenge to keep those holdings secure. On March 3, at 7 PM, the National Archives presents a panel discussion on Protecting Our National Treasures: The Impact and Prevention of Archival Theft. An expert panel will discuss the balance between providing access to researchers and visitors while maintaining security.

NUCMC & the Documentary Heritage of the American Civil War

Information about historical documents from across the country regarding the outbreak of the Civil War—with links to the home historical societies and repositories of the materials—has been placed online by the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC) at the Library of Congress. The presentation, “NUCMC and the Documentary Heritage of the American Civil War,” can be viewed at

Assistan Archivist for Records Services Kurtz to Retire

Assistant Archivist for Records Services, Washington DC, Dr. Michael Kurtz, announced his intention to retire from the National Archives and Records Administration March 3, 2011, after 37 years of service to become a visiting professor at the University of Maryland.

Application Period for FY ’11 Teaching American History Grants Open

On February 2, the Department of Education announced that it was inviting applications for new awards under the Teaching American History (TAH) Grant Program for fiscal year (FY) 2011. However, the notice in the Federal Register makes clear that the Administration’s FY 2011 budget request did not include funding for the TAH program. It states, “We are inviting applications for the TAH program to allow enough time to complete the grant process before the end of the current fiscal year, if Congress appropriates funds for this program.”

National Archives Uncovers Alteration of Lincoln Document

Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero recently announced that Thomas Lowry, a long-time Lincoln researcher from Woodbridge, VA, confessed on January 12, 2011, to altering an Abraham Lincoln Presidential pardon that is part of the permanent records of the U.S. National Archives. The pardon was for Patrick Murphy, a Civil War soldier in the Union Army who was court-martialed for desertion.