The single-family population schedule for the Eleventh Census of the United States taken in 1890 was significantly more voluminous and vulnerable than its predecessors. Recordkeepers at the time failed to copy the schedules or to bind them, driven both by the era's pervasive fiscal conservatism and bureaucratic hubris over the first use of the Hollerith electrical tabulating machines. Thus the stage was set for the infamous fire of 10 January 1921. The loss of a large portion of the 1890 census did not, as previously assumed, spur the creation of the National Archives. Nevertheless, the impact of the fire and subsequent disposal of the remnants of the census left a permanent void in the historical record.

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