AASA Historical Archives Moving into Major University’s Collection

For about 25 years, much of AASA’s historical riches have resided on metal shelving in dusty cardboard cartons inside a huge corporate records warehouse in Annapolis Junction, Md. 

 But about a year from now, those documents, photos, publications and reports describing all facets of the association’s 151 years of existence will be part of the Gelman Library's Special Collections and Archives, at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. 

Vakil Smallen, the archivist for the National Education Association Collection, has been working closely with AASA staff for the past two years on this project, which grew out of preparations for the observance of AASA’s 150th year of operation in 2015. The AASA staff’s research yielded exhibits at last year’s AASA national conference highlighting the association’s past and a special 150th anniversary issue of School Administrator magazine (published in February 2015). 

The archives project took a big step forward in mid-March when Smallen spent a day at the warehouse identifying 115 boxes of AASA records for processing later this year. The historical materials -- which include minutes of governing board meetings dating back more than a century – will be organized in several logical categories, such as governance, meetings/conventions, public policy, constituent relations, awards and communications. 

 Once the document processing and cataloging is completed, the special collections library will create a comprehensive directory, accessible to users electronically, of the major holdings. Through the use of finding aids, researchers will be able to search with keyword terms. The directory is expected to be finished during the first quarter of 2017. 

The AASA documents, publications, photographs, video and cassette tapes and annual yearbooks themselves will be available to the general public. Researchers must view the collection at the special collections' reading room. 

AASA made a substantial financial gift to George Washington University to support the historical archives project. The university’s special collections, located on the top floor of the campus’ Gelman Library, also houses the historical records of the National Education Association. 

Leading the project for AASA have been Sherri Montgomery, executive assistant to AASA’s executive director, and Jay P. Goldman, editor of School Administrator magazine. They are two of the longest-serving AASA staff members.



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