The Georgia Archives Institute was founded in 1967 by Carroll Hart, Director of the Georgia Department of Archives and History (1964-1982). Lacking the funds to send staff to the National Archives Institute in Washington, D.C., Ms. Hart brought in prominent archivists to teach archival theory and the role of the modern archivist. She saw the need for basic instruction for beginners in the profession. At first the program was intended for the Georgia Archives staff, but it was soon expanded to include attendees from other institutions. The first official session was in August of 1967, with students traveling around the state visiting repositories, courthouses, and other institutions housing records.
Today, the Georgia Archives Institute is recognized throughout the archival community as one of the primary vehicles through which beginning archivists and students can learn theoretical and practical knowledge of modern archives. Many types and sizes of archival and educational institutions continue to be partners in the Georgia Archives Institute, ensuring that students are exposed to a broad range of perspectives and thus will be adaptable in the workforce.
In 2017, the Georgia Archives Institute received the Society of American Archivists’ Distinguished Service Award at their annual meeting in Atlanta. This prestigious award recognizes an archival institution, education program, nonprofit organization, or government organization that has provided outstanding service to its public and has made an exemplary contribution to the archives profession.
Georgia Archives Institute, 1967-2017: Historical Timeline
1967 The first Institute, sponsored by the Georgia Dept. of Archives and History (GDAH) and Emory University, is four weeks in length and includes classroom lectures, field trips to repositories in Atlanta and throughout Georgia, and a major practicum at the GDAH.
1980 The length of the Institute is reduced to three weeks and the site visits outside of Atlanta eliminated.
1983 Primary management of the Institute is transferred to Emory University due to state government budget cuts. GDAH still provides the classroom space and the practicum is reduced to three days and is based in a local Atlanta repository.
1987 A majority of the Institute classroom instruction moves from GDAH to the newly-opened Jimmy Carter Presidential Library.
1989 Clark Atlanta University replaces Emory University as the academic sponsor, when Emory closes it library school. In 1988, Martin Elzy, Assistant Director of the Jimmy Carter Library, becomes the institute coordinator for the next fifteen years.
1992 The Institute files Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. The Articles establish a governing Board of Directors.
1993 Fiscal management of the Institute is transferred from Clark Atlanta University to the newly created non-profit Georgia Archives Institute, Inc. The Institute changes to a two-week format that included classroom instruction and an internship in a local Atlanta repositories.
1994 The Society of Georgia Archivists establishes the Carroll Hart Scholarship to the Institute. Doris LaVerne Harvey (U.S. Army Reserves) is the first recipient.
2003 Martin Elzy steps down and Brenda Banks becomes Chair of the Board of Directors, a position she held until her death in 2016.
2004 Classes move from the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library to the new Georgia Archives building in Morrow.
2008 The Friends of the Georgia Archives awards the first Sarah O. Dunaway Scholarship to the Institute.
2016 The Institute is the recipient of the Society of American Archivist’s 2016 Distinguished Service Award. The award is presented to the Board of Directors by SAA President Dennis Meissner at the SAA annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.
2017 The Institute celebrates its 50th Anniversary!
Additional links about the Georgia Archives Institute
Brenda Banks, Paul Conway, Nancy Lenoil, and Michael Suarez, The View from Here: Perspectives on Educating About Archives (Session 306). The American Archivist: January 2011, Vol. 74, No. Supplement 1, pp. 1-32.
Georgia Archives Institute, The Georgia Archives Institute 10th year Commemoratory, 1976.
Georgia Archives Institute, The Georgia Archives Institute brochure, ca. 1976.
Matthews, Linda M., “The Georgia Archives Institute and the Training of Archivists, 1967-1989,” Provenance, Journal of the Society of Georgia Archivists 7, no. 3 (1989).