A History of Archival Practice: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

A History of Archival Practice

1st Edition

By Paul Delsalle, Margaret Procter


246 pages | 27 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781409455240
pub: 2017-07-27
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315564821
pub: 2017-07-31
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This revised translation of the classic 1998 Une histoire de l’archivistique provides a wide-ranging international survey of developments in archival practices and management, from the ancient world to the present day.

The volume has been substantially updated to incorporate recent scholarship and provide additional examples from the English-speaking world. These new additions complement the original text and offer a broad and up-to-date survey, with examples spanning Europe, Africa, Asia and North and South America. The bibliography has also been updated with new material and supplementary English language sources, making it an accessible and up-to-date resource for those working and researching in the field of archives and archival history.

This book is an essential reference volume for both archivists and historians, as well as anyone interested in the history of archives.


"A readable and well-organized synthesis…. [this book] ought to be essential reading for anyone seeking the nearest approximation of a “global archival history” currently available in English"

- Eric C. Stoykovich, University of Maryland, US

"It reflects much of the latest scholarship on all periods of archival history from ancient Mesopotamia to the twentieth century; it covers an impressive range of topics in a very small space; and, as the first and only monograph of its kind in English, it fills a long-standing void in professional literature. If it succeeds in provoking new interest in its subject matter, or encouraging its readers to undertake further research, it will have served its purpose admirably."

- Geoffrey Yeo, University College, London, UK

"For anyone interested in the historical development of archival practice or in the variety of perspectives available through the lens of international or global comparisons, A History of Archival Practice is a welcome addition to the growing literature on archival history."

- Rand Jimerson, Western Washington University, US

"A History of Archival Practice, Margaret Procter, senior lecturer in record and archive studies at the University of Liverpool, UK, provides a beautifully rendered revision and translation of Delsalle’s chronicle of power and control for an anglophone audience."

-Christopher M. Laico, Columbia University, US

"…Margaret Procter’s translation of this text by Professor Paul Delsalle is very much to be welcomed….I think the book has great potential value and undoubtedly fills a big gap in the extant literature."

-Elizabeth Shepherd, University College London, UK

Table of Contents

Preface to the English Edition

Introduction to the French Edition

1. The Ancient World

2. The Classical World: from Greek City States to the Roman Empire

3. Archives and Archival Practices in Asia and Africa: from Antiquity to the Eighteenth Century

4. Archives and Archival Practices in the Americas up to the Eighteenth Century

5. In the Chanceries and Muniment Rooms of Medieval Europe, Fifth to Fifteenth Centuries

6. Buildings and Equipment in Western Europe: Late Antiquity to the Seventeenth Century

7. The Defining Era: Simancas, the Habsburgs and the Sixteenth Century

8. Bureaucracy and Archival Centralisation in Early Modern Europe

9. Being an Archivist in Early Modern Europe

10. Methods and Techniques for Classification and Arrangement: Fifteenth to Eighteenth Centuries

11. Legislation, Literature and Practice in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

12. Buildings and Readers, Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

13. Archives Destroyed, Protected and Reconstructed: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

14. The Rise of a Profession, Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

15. From Mutual Assistance to International Networks, Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

16. Conclusion: the Value of the Historical Perspective

Afterword to the English Edition

About the Authors

Paul Delsalle is Professor of Modern History at the Université de Franche-Comté, France, specialising in the editing of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century documents. Between 1990 and 1995 he was Lecturer in Archival Studies at the University of Haute-Alsace in Mulhouse, France.

Margaret Procter is Senior Lecturer in Record and Archive Studies at the University of Liverpool, UK, and previously worked as a professional archivist. She has worked with the International Council on Archives for over 25 years,most recently as Editor of its multilingual journal Comma.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Library & Information Science / General