[Source: Bill Coates, Arizona Capitol Times] — As principal investigator for Arizona Historical Research, Vince Murray’s livelihood depends on access to Arizona state archives. That access was severely curtailed March 4, when the new Polly Rosenbaum Arizona Archives and History Building was closed to the public, except by appointment. And then for only two half-days a week.
Blame budget cuts. For Murray, it means a project that used to take two weeks now could take more than two months. “On any typical project, there’s going to be 40 to 80 hours of research,” Murray said. “Well, here, you’ve got — what? — eight hours that you’re allowed to do it in a week.” Clients for his historical consulting firm include state agencies, he said.
The archives closure was perhaps the most notable cost-cutting move by the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records department. Other divisions are operating on reduced hours, said GladysAnn Wells, the agency’s director. Until the cuts, the library department had $2 million in operating funds, expected to carry it until June 30, the fiscal year’s end. In January, however, the Legislature reduced that by nearly $1.5 million, she said. There was one place to cut, Wells said. “All we had left, really, was salaries,” she said. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]
The Friends of Arizona Archives invite you to attend the dedication of the Polly Rosenbaum State Archives and History Building.
- Date: Thursday, January 15, 2009
- Time: Remarks and Ribbon Cutting 9 a.m. (Honorable Ken Bennett, Master of Ceremonies); tours 10 a.m. to Noon
- Place: 1901 West Madison Street at 19th Avenue (parking available at the State Capitol, Records Building, Wesley Bolin Plaza, and on adjoining side streets where permitted)
Refreshments will be served, including cake from Polly Rosenbaum’s 100th birthday cake’s recipe. RSVP by January 7 if you plan to attend. Specify whether you would like to take a tour of the facility after the ceremony. RSVP via e-mail or by phone to 602-770-5057. For more information, visit the FAzA website. This event is presented by Mortenson Construction and Gila County.
[Source: Richard Ruelas, Arizona Republic] — The Works Progress Administration, a government public-works program started during the Great Depression, didn’t just leave Arizona with canals and sidewalks. It also preserved some personal human history. The project yielded oral histories of about 700 residents, most of whom were elderly when they were interviewed in the 1930s. Consider them slices of government-funded history.
The WPA, later renamed the Work Projects Administration, was part of the New Deal that President Franklin D. Roosevelt instituted during the Great Depression. It included projects such as those canals and sidewalks. But writers needed jobs, too. So did teachers, librarians, artists, and other white-collar workers. But according to the Web site of the Library of Congress, there was a belief that these folks might not make good bricklayers. So the government launched the Federal Writers’ Project. Part of its mission was to document life histories. The project lasted from 1935 to 1939, before federal funding was yanked.
Melanie Sturgeon, director of Arizona’s History and Archives Division, said most of the interviews were done by the time federal funding dried up. “By the time 1939 was over,” she said, “they were just cleaning (the interviews) up.” Twelve boxes containing interviews are stored in the new Polly Rosenbaum Archives and History Building in downtown Phoenix. The material is available for viewing in the archives center, just west of the State Capitol. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]
[Source: Doug Kupel, Friends of Arizona Archives] — If you missed your opportunity to tour the new State Archives building, 1901 W. Madison St., during the “soft opening” on October 16, you can view photos of the event at the FAzA website. Arizona history enthusiasts will get another chance to tour the building during the Grand Opening Dedication on January 15, 2009.
State Archives employees seek volunteers to help finish preparations for the move to the new Polly Rosenbaum Archives and History Building, southwest of the State Capitol at 19th Avenue and Madison. Volunteers are needed on Thursday, September 18 and Friday, September 18 at the existing off-site storage facility. To volunteer, please call 602-926-3720.