Throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, US government agencies and branches were responsible for maintaining their own documents, often resulting in the loss and destruction of records. In 1934, Congress created the National Archives to centralize federal record keeping, and appointed Robert D. W. Connor (1878-1950) as the first Archivist of the United States.
While independent from the US government, the National Archives preserves historical documents and government records. The National Archives also maintains and publishes legally authentic and authoritative copies of acts of Congress, presidential directives, and federal regulations, as well as Electoral College votes. Additionally, the National Archives maintains public access to those records including the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. Researchers can also view documents in the Research Room that are not on display.
The seventh building to be constructed in the Federal Triangle from 1931 to 1937, the Archives Building is a monumental structure designed in the twentieth century neoclassical manner by John Russell Pope (1874-1937). The Archives Building occupies a dominant position in the Federal Triangle.
DC Inventory: November 8, 1964
National Register: May 27, 1971