American University’s role in the history of archival education is often forgotten. For over twenty-five years, American University co-hosted an Archives Institute along with the National Archives and Records Administration, the Library of Congress and the Maryland State Archives (formerly called the Maryland Hall of Records).
The first course was offered in the summer of 1945. Over the course of three weeks, students listened to lectures on archival theory and practice from archivists at the host institutions. They toured all three facilities and undertook a variety of projects including rehousing, compiling preliminary inventories, cataloging and appraisal.
The Institute’s directors included Ernst Posner and T.R. Schellenberg, early leaders in the field of archival theory. American University’s Archivist, Helen Chatfield, was also on the roster of distinguished lecturers.
American University continues this tradition of summer programs today with offerings from the European Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute, the Nuclear Studies Institute, and the Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute in addition to internships and study-abroad courses.