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Updated 12:00 PM June 23, 2005




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National Archives center named for former U-M dean

Robert M. Warner, dean emeritus of the School of Information (SI) and former archivist of the United States, was honored May 19 when the recently renovated National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Research Center in Washington, D.C., was named The Robert M. Warner Research Center.
Warner (Photo courtesy National Archives And Records Administration)

"Being archivist of the United States was the greatest opportunity I ever had or will have," said Warner, the University's historian who served as SI dean from 1985-92. "It's so good to relive the part of my life connected with this institution."

Warner established the National Archives as an independent government agency during his tenure from 1980-85. The archives previously had been a division of the Government Services Administration (GSA). He won a four-year fight for independence on Oct. 19, 1984, when President Ronald Reagan signed legislation that removed the National Archives from the GSA and made it independent.

Allen Weinstein, current U.S. archivist, praised Warner for working "tirelessly with literally hundreds of supporters within the archives and among our constituent groups, the Congress and the White House to make independence a reality. While there were many roadblocks in the way, Warner persevered and finally won."

Before President Jimmy Carter appointed him U.S. archivist, Warner had worked to make the Michigan Historical Collections one of the nation's top archival research libraries.

As the nation's record keeper, NARA is the custodian of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The center also is an important stop for researchers, especially family historians, looking for information from the U.S. Census records and other documents that date back to the founding of the country.

The agency also maintains federal records centers, archives and presidential libraries at 36 locations across the country. They include the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library on campus and the Ford Museum in Grand Rapids.

NARA also publishes the Federal Register and makes grants through its National Historical Publications and Records Commission to preserve and make available state and local records and the papers of prominent Americans.

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