Ga. Archives’ closure is major blow to public

Governor Deal, as a Georgia citizen and taxpayer I am one of thousands across this state, across this country, and around the world, who are outraged at the impending closure of our State Archives.

This is my second letter to you in less than one year regarding the Archives. We Georgians are embarrassed that our State Archives offers the fewest hours open in the entire nation.

Mississippi offers public access to their Archives six days a week; the South Carolina Archives is open five days a week; the Alabama Archives is open four days a week, and every second Saturday.

These states are not in better financial condition than Georgia. They simply know the value of what these institutions offer. They value their history.

Our Archives had always been open more than 40 hours a week to the public and was highly used every open day. Our legislature took a narrow, short-sighted approach to funding when they forced the Archives to provide service to the public only 17 hours a week. That was a major blow to those of us who do historical and genealogical research in Georgia.

Now we are told that those 17 hours — less than any other state archives in the nation — will end. Our Secretary of State plans to “mothball” our Archives building.

This is an award-winning building that our tax dollars bought. The fact that any and all cuts made in the Secretary of State’s office must come from the Archives (including eliminating most of the few remaining archival positions) is preposterous. Why should the Archives take the full SOS cut? We deserve answers.

Consider the full meaning of the negative economic impact that this closure would mean to Georgia, to Clayton County, and to the city of Morrow. Reverse these proposed budget cuts to the Archives by Nov. 1 to ensure uninterrupted service to the public, and restore a minimum of $1 million to the Georgia Archives budget to return its operations to five days a week.

E. Lee Eltzroth

Member, Society of Georgia Archivists; Member, Friends of the Georgia Archives; President, SE Chapter ARLIS/NA; Georgia voter

Peachtree City, Ga.

ginga1414's picture
Joined: 09/01/2008
Genealogists and Ga. Archives

For those of us who love to spend hours searching through old documents to find elusive answers, closing the Ga. Archives is truly a "major blow."

Last year, I walked out of the Ga. Archives building with the answer to a question I had been researching for many years. I wanted to know when and where my maternal great-grandfather had died. There were no relatives left who could answer my questions. From all I had found, I suspected that my great-grandfather had died alone.

With the help of the Ga. Archives, I discovered that elderly folks who suffered from some form of dementia and had no one to care for them, during the early 1900's, usually lived out their lives as a resident of the State Hospital in Milledgeville, Ga. And, that is where my maternal great-grandfather spent the last days of his life.

Without the Ga. Archives, my family would still be wondering what happened to great-granddaddy William Henry Lee.

Davids mom
Davids mom's picture
Joined: 10/30/2005

This was truly a gift to the residents of Georgia. I spent many hours there researching my husbands family - and learning a great deal about my own. I hope that the privilege of using this marvelous resource will be restored.

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