In 1954, on the twentieth anniversary of the establishment of the National Archives, Ernst Posner evaluated the Archives' contributions to archival theory. In 1984, on the fiftieth anniversary, the author of this article looked back on the thirty years since Posner's assessment and carried his analysis forward. The review, which specifically excluded theoretical contributions to records management, concludes that since 1954 there have been two main periods of archival theorizing at the National Archives, with significant contributions during each one: the first from 1954 to 1966, which produced the classic written formulations of the archival theories developed during the period 1934-1954; the second from 1966-1984, which brought important advances in the theory of access to archival materials.

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