This history of the Society of American Archivists from its founding (1935-1937) to the appointment of a paid executive director (1974) is organized into three periods: "I. Growing Up in Depression and War, 1935-1945," in which are outlined the founding of the society and its relationships with other organizations, especially the American Historical Association; the role of the National Archives in the affairs of the society; the development of the American Archivist; and the impact of hard economic times and war. "II. Coming of Age, 1946-1957," in which are discussed the society through its twenty-first year; international archival relations; the committee structure; SAA as a national voice for the profession; the tensions between state archivists and the National Archives; the establishment of Fellows; and the growing complexity, and resulting problems, of the maturing association. "III. The Professionalization of the Association, 1958-1974," in which is reviewed the development of the society into a truly professional association designed to meet the many and conflicting demands of a varied membership. The issues examined include the threat of fragmentation and the rise of regional archival groups; the decline in interest in international archival matters; independence for the National Archives and Records Service; the Loewenheim case at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library; tensions within the SAA leadership; internal operations and problems with committees; growth patterns of membership and budget within SAA; the increasing role of state archivists in the affairs of the society; attitudes of state archivists toward NARS; the rise of the institutional archivists; education and training programs; and the search for funding for the executive director position as the culmination of the work of the Committee of the 1970s to democratize SAA and make it more responsive to the needs of the membership.

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