Documenting the Immigrant and Ethnic Experience in American Archives

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Society of American Archivists


This paper examines the development of ethnic and immigrant archives in the United States since the 1960s. It focuses on the dramatic evolution of "ethnic archiving"—the processes and objectives involved in documenting the immigrant and ethnic experience—and shows how cultural minorities evolved from an object or theme of archival collections to active participants in the creation, appraisal, description, and use of their own archives. A number of factors made this evolution possible: a new political context increasingly responsive to minority rights and cultural diversity, rising interest in social history, and the influence of postmodernist thought on archival theory. New digital technologies have also facilitated the expression and archiving of ethnic voices.



History, Arts, Humanities, Cultural heritage, Information storage and retrieval, Library science, Archives, Information professions, Preservation and recordkeeping


"Documenting the Immigrant and Ethnic Experience in American Archives." The American Archivist 73, no. 1 (Spring 2010): 84-102.