The Special Collections Department, started in 1935, supervises the care, preservation, accessioning, and description of non-state agency generated records (see Code State Government Article, sec. 9-1010). These records are acquired as gifts or deposits by private donors and generally consist of personal letters, diaries, organizational records, newspapers, photographs, maps, and documents. The department also manages the State battle flag collection.
Sec. 9-1010 states in part that “The Archives
- shall collect public and private records and other information that relate to the history of the province and State of Maryland from the earliest times, including church records and newspapers;
- may edit and publish these records;
- shall encourage research into the history of the State.”
One of the most important duties of Special Collections is to make collections accessible to the public. The preparation of records for circulation to researchers is, however, only a portion of the equation. Integral to the Archives’ overall mission is to make Special Collections record descriptions available within a searchable database via the Internet.
Special Collections also uses digital formats to preserve the informational content of its collections. Digitization of our collections is an on-going process. Only a portion of Special Collections is currently available in digital format.