Oregon State Archives

The Archives Division of the Office of the Secretary of State of Oregon, or the Oregon State Archives, is an agency of the Oregon Secretary of State charged with preserving and providing access to government records. It also publishes the Oregon Blue Book and Oregon Administrative Rules. The position of State Archivist was authorized by the state legislature in 1945, though not filled until 1947, and was originally a staff position within the Oregon State Library. The duties and functions of the archivist were placed under the purview of the Secretary of State in 1973, when that office was deemed the chief records officer of the state government by the legislature. As of 2019 it comprises the state archivist, a reference unit, a publications unit, an information and records management unit, and the State Records Center.

Oregon State Archives
Archives Division of the Office of the Secretary of State of Oregon
The Cecil L. Edwards Archives Building
LocationSalem, Oregon, United States
Coordinates44.946011°N 123.025562°W / 44.946011; -123.025562
State ArchivistStephanie Clark (interim)
BuildingCecil L. Edwards Archives Building[1]
Size50,000 sq. ft.
WebsiteOfficial website

Before the division was established, Oregon's record keeping had been delegated to various agencies resulting in disorganization and loss. Following a fire at the capitol building in 1935 and in the face of possible air raids during World War II, the need for a state-level archivist became clear. The first state archivist was David Duniway.[2]

In 1991 the two-story Oregon State Archives Building was opened, providing two vaults, climate-controlled storage, and 50,000 sq. ft. of space. Its exterior is marble and granite.[2] Cecil L. Edwards (1906–1995),[3] who served as chief clerk of the House in 1963 and as state legislative historian from 1975 to 1993, died on December 22, 1995, after which the building was renamed in his honor.[4]

List of state archivists

  • David C. Duniway (1946–1972)[5][6]
  • James D. Porter (1972–May 1984)[7][8]
  • Dale Hildebrand (interim)[8]
  • Roy C. Turnbaugh (1985–Sept. 2005)[9]
  • Mary Beth Herkert (Dec. 2005–May 2019)[10][11]
  • Stephanie Clark (2019)


  • "Secretary of State: Administrative Overview" (PDF). Oregon Archives Division (Official website). Oregon Secretary of State. September 2001. Retrieved 2006-12-17.
  • "Archives Division - Present Duties and Responsibilities". Oregon Blue Book (Online). Salem, Oregon: Oregon Secretary of State. 2016.
  1. Selsky, Andrew (October 23, 2016). "Oregon aims to preserve original constitution, warts and all". The Intelligencer. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  2. "Oregon State Archives History". Oregon Secretary of State. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  3. Legislative Committee Services (December 2008). "Chronological List of Oregon's Legislatures" (PDF). Oregon Legislature. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-02-15. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  4. "The Finding Aid of the Cecil and Gladys Brown Edwards Papers 0005". Onine Archive of California. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  5. Scheppke, Jim (May 21, 2019). "David C. Duniway (1912-1993)". The Oregon Encyclopedia. Portland State University, Oregon Historical Society. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  6. Halvorson, Gary D. "The Duniway Years at the State Archives, 1946-1972" (PDF). Oregon Secretary of State. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  7. Ebert, Eloise (August 1972). "Oregon State Library Biennial Report for the Period July 1, 1970 - June 30, 1972" (PDF). Oregon State Library. p. 3. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  8. "Retired state Archivist, James D. Porter, dies". Statesman-Journal. September 10, 1984. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  9. Huit, Katherine, ed. (Spring 2006). "OMA Dispatch" (PDF). Oregon Museums Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-29. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  10. "Mary Beth Herkert". Archives 2013. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  11. Friedman, Gordon R. (May 24, 2019). "Bev Clarno, new Oregon secretary of state, taps longtime state archivist for civics education job". The Oregonian. Retrieved 20 July 2019.

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