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National Archives and Records Administration

700 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC, 20408-0001



Chief Innovation OfficerPamela S. Wright
Chief of StaffMaria Carosa Stanwich

Congressional AffairsJohn O. Hamilton
Equal Employment Opportunity ProgramErica Pearson

Executive Director, National Historical Publications and Records CommissionChristopher R. Eck

General CounselGary M. Stern

Office of the Federal RegisterOliver A. Potts

Agency ServicesJay A. Trainer
Legislative Archives, Presidential Libraries, and Museum ServicesSusan K. Donius
Research ServicesAnn A. Cummings

AcquisitionLa Verne Fields
FinancialColleen V. Murphy
Human CapitalValorie Findlater
InformationSwarnali Haldar

Executive for Business Support ServicesMark A. Smith, Acting
Inspector GeneralBrett M. Baker

The National Archives and Records Administration safeguards and preserves the records of the U.S. Government and provides public access to them, ensuring that the American people can discover, learn from, and use their documentary heritage to support democracy.


The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the successor agency to the National Archives Establishment (NAE). The National Archives was officially established in 1934, during a time of expanding Federal reforms, regulations, and work projects. The National Archives also recognizes April 1, 1985, as its "other birthday." On that day, NARA became an independent Federal agency.

On June 19, 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved Public Law 73–432 "to establish a National Archives of the United States Government." The statute "created the Office of Archivist of the United States," empowered the President to appoint the Archivist by the advice and with the consent of the Senate, and empowered the Archivist to appoint "all persons to be employed in the National Archives Establishment" (48 Stat. 1122).

On June 30, 1949, President Harry S. Truman approved Public Law 81–152, which also is cited as the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949. Section 104 of Title I of that statute deals with records management. The statute transferred "the National Archives Establishment and its functions, records, property, personnel, obligations, and commitments" to the newly created General Services Administration. It also empowered the Administrator of the new agency to appoint the Archivist of the United States (63 Stat. 381). The new arrangement transformed the NAE into the National Archives and Records Service. More than three decades passed before the National Archives reemerged as an independent agency within the Federal Government's executive branch.

On October 19, 1984, President Ronald W. Reagan approved Public Law 98–497 "to establish the National Archives and Records Administration" as "an independent establishment in the executive branch of the Government" (98 Stat. 2280). President Reagan issued a statement on signing the Senate bill into law. The new statute's provisions became effective on April 1, 1985, a day that is like a second birthday for the agency (98 Stat. 2295).

On June 25, 1985, NARA published a notice in the Federal Register (50 FR 26278). It promulgated the agency's statement of organization. Functions that had been assigned to the General Services Administration were being performed now by NARA.

NARA posts an organizational chart on its "NARA Organization" web page.


Chapter 21 of 44 U.S.C., which includes sections 2101–2120, contains codified statutory material affecting NARA.

Chapter XII of 36 CFR is dedicated to codified regulatory material associated with NARA. The chapter comprises parts 1200–1299.


Classified and Controlled Information Management

The Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) oversees programs for classified national security information and controlled unclassified information in both Government and industry and reports on their status annually to the President. It receives policy and program guidance from the National Security Council and operates under the authority of Executive Orders 12829, 13549, 13587, 13526, and 13556. As a NARA component, ISOO's goals are fourfold: holding classification activities to the minimum necessary standard for protecting national security; promoting consistency and transparency in how controlled unclassified information is handled; efficiently and cost-effectively safeguarding classified national security information; and encouraging declassification of and public access to information as soon as security considerations permit.

In 2010, ISOO was named the Executive agent for administering Executive Order 13556, "Controlled Unclassified Information." The order establishes consistent information sharing and protection practices by replacing the ad hoc, agency-specific policies and procedures with an Executive branchwide program to manage unclassified information that requires safeguarding or dissemination controls pursuant to and consistent with applicable law, regulations, and Governmentwide policies. | Email:

Declassification of Records

The National Declassification Center (NDC) was established by Executive Order 13526 and began operations in January of 2010. The Center is responsible for the timely and appropriate processing of referrals between agencies for accessioned Federal records and transferred Presidential records; general interagency declassification activities necessary to fulfill the requirements of sections 3.3 and 3.4 of the Order; the exchange among agencies of detailed declassification guidance to support equity recognition; the development of effective, transparent, and standard declassification work processes, training, and quality assurance measures; the development of solutions to declassification challenges posed by electronic records, special media, and emerging technologies; and the linkage and effective utilization of existing agency databases and the use of new technologies to support declassification activities under the purview of the Center. | Email:

Federal Records Storage and Retrieval

NARA's Federal Records Centers Program (FRCP) stores and services active and inactive records for Federal agencies. A national network of 18 facilities, the FRCP system currently stores more than 30 million cubic feet of records. Since 1999, the FRCP system has operated as a reimbursable program that provides the Federal community with services on a fee-for-service basis. These services include storage of textual and special media records; management of classified and nonclassified records; retrieval of records needed by customers to conduct daily business or fulfill statutory requirements; expedited responses to congressional inquiries, litigation, and urgent business needs; disposition services, including the disposal of temporary records that have reached the end of their required retention period and the transfer of permanent records to the legal custody of the National Archives; and a variety of special projects based on customer needs.

The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis, MO, is the largest facility in the FRCP system. This facility stores and services the civilian personnel, medical, and pay records of former U.S. Civil Service employees and the personnel, medical, and related records of discharged military personnel. The NPRC maintains research rooms where Federal employees and the general public can review official military and civilian personnel folders and other related records. It also supports Federal agencies by providing them with technical advice on and services relating to records disposition, filing and classification schemes, document conversion, and protection of civilian and military records. Email:

Federal Register Publications and Services

The Federal Register system is an official legal information service of the U.S. Government. The Federal Register system operates under the general authority of the Administrative Committee of the Federal Register (ACFR), as well as under statutory and regulatory authority that is specific to the Office of the Federal Register (OFR). The OFR is a component of NARA, which is obliged by statute to partner with the Government Publishing Office (GPO) to provide Federal Register publications and services to the public. The OFR's mission centers on informing citizens of their rights and obligations, documenting the actions of Federal agencies, and providing a public forum for participation in the democratic process.

The OFR makes the official text of several document types publicly accessible: administrative regulations and notices, Presidential documents, and Federal laws. In partnership with the GPO, its editors prepare and publish the "Code of Federal Regulations," "Compilation of Presidential Documents," "Federal Register," "Public Papers of the Presidents," and "United States Statutes at Large," as well as additional publications.

The OFR coordinates the functions of the Electoral College on behalf of the American people, the Archivist of the United States, the Congress, and the States. It also administers the constitutional amendment process. | Email:

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Compliance

Established under the OPEN Government Act of 2007 (5 U.S.C. 101), the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) works with agencies across the Executive branch to improve the Government's ability to respond to FOIA requests. OGIS serves as liaison between individuals making FOIA requests and administrative agencies, providing mediation services to resolve disputes as an alternative to litigation. It reviews policies and procedures of administrative agencies under FOIA. OGIS also reviews agency compliance with FOIA and recommends policy changes to the President and Congress. | Email:

Grant Making

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) is NARA's grant-making affiliate. NHPRC supports the preservation and promotes the use of America's documentary heritage that is essential for understanding American culture, democracy, and history. NHPRC grants help State and local archives, universities, historical societies, and other nonprofit organizations preserve and manage electronic records, improve training and techniques, strengthen archival programs, preserve and process records collections, and provide access to them through the publication of finding aids and documentary editions of the papers of the Founding Era and other themes and historical figures in American history. NHPRC works in partnership with a national network of State historical records advisory boards. It also provides Federal leadership in public policy affecting the preservation of and access to America's documentary heritage. | Email:


The Office of Innovation finds innovative ways to serve its customers and to increase access to and delivery of records through all forms of media. Its mission includes demonstrating leadership in the archival and information access field. The Office coordinates NARA's efforts for Open Government and the National Digital Strategy. It comprises several divisions: digitization; digital engagement, including Internet, social media, and NARA's online catalog; business architecture, standards, and authorities; and the Innovation Hub.

National Archives Trust Funding

The National Archives Trust Fund Board receives funds from the sale of historic document reproductions and publications based on historic records, as well as from gifts and bequests. The Board invests these funds and uses income to support archival functions such as the preparation of publications that make historic records information more widely available. Members of the Board are the Archivist of the United States, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Presidential Records Act Compliance

NARA operates the Libraries of Presidents Herbert Hoover through George W. Bush. While such records were once considered personal papers, all Presidential records created on or after January 20, 1981, are declared by law to be owned and controlled by the United States and are required to be transferred to NARA at the end of an administration, pursuant to the Presidential Records Act of 1978 (44 U.S.C. 2201 et seq.). The Office of Presidential Libraries within the National Archives oversees the archival, museum, and education programs of the 14 Presidential Libraries, including the fully digital Barack Obama Presidential Library.

Through the Presidential Libraries, which are located at sites selected by the Presidents and built with private funds, NARA preserves and makes available the records, personal papers, and artifacts of a President's administration. Each Library operates a research room and offers reference services for Presidential papers and other historical materials. The Libraries display artifacts and other holdings in museum exhibits illustrating the life and times of a President. The Presidential Libraries also promote citizen engagement by providing programs for students of all ages.

Providing Access to Archival Records

NARA maintains the U.S. Government's most historically valuable records, ranging from the Revolutionary War era to the recent past; arranges and preserves records and prepares finding aids to facilitate their use; makes records publicly accessible online and in its research rooms; answers requests for information contained in its holdings; and provides, for a fee, copies of records. NARA holdings include the records of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, which are preserved and administered by the Center for Legislative Archives. Many important records are available in microfilm and accessible online. Archival records are maintained in NARA facilities in the Washington, DC, area. Records of exceptional local or regional interest are maintained in NARA archives located in other parts of the country. There are also nine NARA-affiliated archives facilities that hold NARA-owned records and make them available to the public.

Research Services provides world-class services to customers seeking access to NARA's accessioned Federal records. Records are available for research purposes in reading rooms at the National Archives Building (Archives I) in Washington, DC; the National Archives (Archives II) in College Park, MD; and various regional facilities throughout the Nation.

Records Management

To ensure proper documentation of the organization, policies, and activities of the Government, NARA develops standards and guidelines for nationwide management and disposition of recorded information. It appraises Federal records and approves disposition schedules. NARA also inspects agency records and management practices, develops records management training programs, provides guidance and assistance on records management, and stores inactive records.

The Office of the Chief Records Officer assists Government agencies with their records management programs and the lifecycle management of Federal records. The Office formulates recommendations for Governmentwide policies, procedures, regulations, and guidance on the creation, management, and disposition of records in various media. It conducts inspections, evaluations, and surveys of records and records management programs in agencies; reports its findings; and recommends improvements or necessary corrective actions. The Office also provides records management services, including appraisal and scheduling, technical assistance, training, consultation, and analysis regarding policy matters, as well as identifying permanent records eligible for transfer to the National Archives. | Email:

Sources of Information

A–Z Index

NARA's website has an alphabetical subject index to help visitors navigate its content.

Amending the Constitution

NARA's website describes the roles played by the Archivist of the United States and the Office of the Federal Register in the ratification process of a constitutional amendment.

Archived Records

The "Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States" indicates that NARA records have been assigned to record group 064.


NARA maintains multiple blogs.

Business Opportunities

Resources for doing business with NARA, as well as an inventory of service contracts awarded by the agency, are available online.


NARA maintains a calendar of public events on its website. A recorded announcement of events in Washington, DC, and College Park, MD, also is available. Phone, 202-357-5000. TDD, 301-837-0482.

Career Opportunities

NARA has a nationwide network of facilities. The agency relies on professionals with administrative, archival, editorial, technical, and other skills to carry out its mission. For more information, visit the "Careers at NARA" web page or contact the Office of Human Capital in St. Louis, MO. Phone, 800-827-0885.

In 2020, NARA ranked 17th among 25 midsize Government agencies in the Partnership for Public Service's Best Places To Work Agency Rankings.


The National Archives catalog is accessible online.

Charters of Freedom

The Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights have secured the rights of Americans for over two centuries. High resolution images of these three documents, transcriptions of their texts, and articles written on them are available online.

Climate Change

As part of NARA's policy statement for its "Climate Action Plan—September 2021," Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero wrote that NARA is "committed to integrating climate information that reflects an understanding of global climate change (based on best available science) into its mission and programs via employee training and management functions."

Congressional Affairs

The Congressional Affairs Office maintains liaison with congressional staffs and responds to their inquiries. Phone, 202-357-5100. Fax, 202-357-5959. | Email:

Congressional Records

The Center for Legislative Archives houses the official records of the U.S. Congress from 1789 to the present. These records are in the permanent legal custody of the Senate and House of Representatives, and their rules govern them. The Center responds to congressional committee requests for records to support congressional business needs. It is a full-service archive that assists the Senate and House archivists with managing records, that processes congressional and legislative branch records and provides public access to them, and that creates exhibits, public programs, and educational materials and workshops on the history of the Congress and representative government. Phone, 202-357-5350. Fax, 202-357-5911. | Email:

Contact Information

Send postal correspondence to the National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001. Phone, 866-272-6272. | Email:

Democracy Starts Here

The National Archives contains over 9 billion records—some frivolous, some funny, but others serious, even repellent. More than a national scrapbook, this repository of records gives Americans the opportunity to gain unfiltered, unmediated glimpses of their shared national history, to consider their Government's achievements and shortcomings, to reflect on the praiseworthy and shameful, and to engage in the civic responsibilities of renewing their Nation and fortifying and expanding its democratic institutions. In an 11-minute video, Discovery Channel captures this fundamental concept that sustains NARA's mission.

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) awards grants for projects that publish the American story. The Commission also funds projects that preserve and make accessible the records of all types that are housed in historical repositories across the Nation. The American story is more diverse and unexpected than the Nation's Founding Fathers and 45 Presidents. It includes abolitionists, civil rights leaders, progressives, radicals, and reformers like Chief of the Cherokee Nation John Ross, Presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs of the Socialist Party of America, escaped slave and orator Frederick Douglass, freedom of speech champion and anarchist Emma Goldman, labor organizer Mary Harris "Mother" Jones, Vice President Henry A. Wallace, and Baptist minister Martin Luther King, Jr., whose collections and papers the NHPRC has made more accessible.

Electoral College

The "U.S. Electoral College" web page offers a trove of information on the Electoral College, as well as external resources for learning about elections and voting in the United States. Phone, 202-741-6030. | Email:


The National Archives in Washington, DC, and the Presidential Libraries and several regional facilities regularly host onsite exhibits. NARA also has national traveling exhibits that bring documents and records of the National Archives to communities nationwide. NARA's website features dozens of online exhibits on a range of topics: gifts that Presidents received, Government drawings, New Deal-era Federal art projects, work and the workplace in the 19th and 20th centuries, the influenza epidemic of 1918, and more. | Email:

Federal Register

Significant documents and documents that NARA recently published in the Federal Register are accessible online.


Some of the most commonly used forms for obtaining National Archives historical records—Eastern Cherokee applications, Federal census records, Federal land entry files, military pension / bounty land warrant applications, passenger arrival records, post-World War I military records, and pre-World War I military service records—are available online.

Founders Online

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission and The University of Virginia Press have collaborated to create the "Founders Online" website, which gives the public free electronic access to the historical documents of the Founders of the United States. The site contains over 176,000 searchable and fully annotated documents from the Founding Fathers Papers projects. These documents include the correspondence and other writings of Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, President John Adams and his family, and Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison. | Email:

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

To any person, the FOIA gives a statutory right for obtaining access to Government information in the records of executive branch agencies. This right to access is limited, however, when the requested information is shielded from disclosure by any of nine exemptions contained within the statute.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

NARA posts answers to FAQs on its website.


In the early 1930s, the Nation had a records management problem: Federal records were being housed in abandoned buildings, attics, and basements, where security and storage conditions were inadequate. In 1934, the U.S. Congress acted. To learn what it did to solve the problem, visit the "National Archives History" web page. | Email:

History Hub

This crowdsourcing platform is a place for asking questions, finding people of particular experiences and interests, sharing information, and working together. The hub allows citizen archivists, American history enthusiasts, and experts from NARA and other organizations to pool their knowledge in support of historical research. | Email:

Know Your Records

To assist genealogical and historical researchers with using Federal Government records held at the National Archives, NARA hosts Know Your Records events. Phone, 202-357-5260. | Email:

Museum Shops

The National Archives Store sells merchandise highlighting the holdings of the National Archives. Document facsimiles, publications, and souvenirs and gifts are available for sale at each Presidential Library and at the National Archives in Washington, DC. Phone, 202-357-5271.


NARA posts press releases on its website.

Open Government

NARA supports the Open Government initiative by promoting the principles of collaboration, participation, and transparency.

Páginas en Español

The NARA website features a collection of pages whose content is in Spanish.

Plain Language

NARA supports the Plain Writing Act of 2010 by "promoting clear Government communication that the public can understand and use." If a document or web page contains content that is unclear, please contact NARA via email and suggest a way to enhance clarity. | Email:


The "Publications" web page contains a hyperlinked list of NARA's most requested publications: "Code of Federal Regulations," "Federal Register," "Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States," "Military Service Records at the National Archives," "Prologue" magazine, and eBooks and more.

The Office of Records Services in Washington, DC, and the Office of Regional Records Services produce most of the publications on the "Publications" web page; however, other NARA offices also publish materials and a few of them do so extensively. These other offices include the Information Security Oversight Office, Office of the Federal Register, Office of Presidential Libraries, and public affairs staff.

NARA units enter into cooperative arrangements with other organizations to produce and sell publications. To become acquainted with these partnership publications, visit the "NARA Publications" web page.

"Presidential Perspectives from the National Archives" highlights modern American Presidents and the National Archives Presidential Libraries System.

Some print versions of NARA publications are no longer in stock. To inquire about a publication, contact the National Archives Foundation. Phone, 202-357-5271.

Recorded Utterances of Presidents

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum maintains a collection of digitized recordings of the former President's speeches and recordings from 1920 to 1945. Each audio file may be streamed or downloaded directly from the "Utterances" web page. The collection contains the State of the Union address that the President delivered before the U.S. Congress on January 6, 1941. In the speech, he famously enumerated the four freedoms—of speech and expression, to worship God, from want, and from fear (32:45)—and defined freedom generally as "the supremacy of human rights everywhere" (36:17).

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum, and Boyhood Home maintains an audio collection (1943–1961) of the 34th President's speeches that reflect his accomplishments and values. His "Chance for Peace" speech, which is also known as the "Cross of Iron" speech, was given a few weeks after the death of Russian Premier Joseph Stalin on April 16, 1953. In that speech, he said: "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed" (11:15). The collection also contains his "Farewell Address to the American People," which he addressed to the Nation on January 17, 1961. In that oft quoted address, he spoke of the implications of a growing arms industry and defense establishment.

Records Management

Records management brochures and pamphlets, posters, and publications are available online.

The national records management training program provides records management instruction to Federal employees and contractors. | Email:

Researcher Newsletter

"Researcher News" covers relevant and the most up-to-date information for conducting research at the National Archives. The newsletter is available online in Portable Document Format (PDF) and also disseminated via email subscription. | Email:

Resources for Educators

NARA's website has a trove of information and resources to assist teachers.

DocsTeach is an online tool that helps educators use National Archives documents for teaching their students. | Email:

Resources for Genealogists

NARA's website has a trove of information and resources to assist genealogy researchers.

Service Records

The "Veterans' Service Records" web page explains how to request service records online, to conduct research using military records, to replace lost medal and awards, and to browse World War II photographs.

Social Media

NARA has pages on Facebook.

NARA and its component organizations tweet announcements and other newsworthy items, using their Twitter accounts.

Organizations within NARA post videos on YouTube channels.

Today's Document

Each day a different American historical document is featured on NARA's website.

Visitors' Information

The "Visit Us" web page has a nationwide list of NARA facilities—Federal records centers, Presidential Libraries, and research facilities. The list includes directions to, hours for, and details on each facility.