In 1974, federal legislation enlarged the scope and function of the National Historical Publications Commission (NHPC) by providing authority for the Commission to support archival projects in public and private institutions. The first six years of the newly formed National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) were devoted to the development of state structures to assist in the program's implementation, and national priorities that could address questions of documentary preservation and enhanced researcher use. The debates within the Commission and among archivists nationwide during the startup period centered on three questions: how much appropriated funding would be provided to the Commission for grants?; what role should the states play in shaping and implementing the program?; and what priorities should be established in order to advance the solution to national research needs? The staff, the Commission members, the Archivist of the United States, the state archivists, and the professional archival organizations all became important contributors to the initiation of the first national effort to improve archival processes and the condition of documentary resources in the United States.

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