Dr. Melanie Sturgeon Receives High Honor!

A few months ago, a colleague from Northern Arizona University Special Collections contacted archives staff to see if we could put together a bio for our beloved director, Dr. Melanie Sturgeon, so he could nominate her for the Conference of Inter-Mountain Archivists (CIMA) Lifetime Achievement Award. It took us awhile to condense all of her amazing work into just a short paragraph! Melanie is such an amazing champion of Arizona history and archives, has fostered archivists new to the profession, and has been instrumental in building a close-knit archival community here in Arizona! We can’t think of a more deserving recipient. Read more about her award here! DSC_1243

Preserving Arizona’s Web, One Crawl at a Time

Did you know that part of the State Archive’s responsibilities include archiving the websites of the Arizona State Government? Electronic media is the primary way that people communicate in the present, therefore preserving digital-born material is vital for future generations of researchers. Since we began web archiving in 2007, we’ve crawled 68.1 million internet-based documents and collected 4.5 terabytes of data!

Using Archive-It software, we “crawl” the State of Arizona’s websites and harvest digital-born content, including documents, videos and images. These crawls are essentially snapshots of a page that once captured, future researchers may revisit and interact with as though those sites were still running. The public has online access to these collections 24/7, and our entire corpus is easily searched with a click of a button. If only paper-based research was so easy!

Like traditional archiving, we create collections of related sites for researchers. Our primary goal is to preserve the websites of Arizona’s state agencies and departments. Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites of our elected officials are also essential sources of information.  We also preserve special interest sites that may be thematic or based around a specific event, such as Arizona’s centennial celebration in 2012. Websites are constantly changing, therefore it is important that we crawl our collections regularly.

The web archiving project is made possible by a grant provided by the Library Services and Technology Act. To access the Arizona Web Archive, follow this link to our partner page at Archive-It. Content on the page will be updated frequently over the coming months so check it often! You may contact us with questions or comments about the project at archives@azlibrary.gov.


Web archivists comb through thousands of URLs to make sure only necessary webpages are archived. They use a programming language called regular expressions to expand or narrow the scope of each web crawl.


Some websites may block certain crawlers from capturing their pages or lead them into traps of endless URLs. Archivists must test and retest each website to make sure Archive-It captures a complete and efficient snapshot of the page.


Once captured, web data forms a complete picture of the website at the time it was crawled. Using Archive-It’s Wayback Machine, researchers may experience the Arizona Historical Society’s page as it appeared when it was crawled on September 16, 2014.



The Jane Karl collection

Scanned ImageWe are so delighted to bring you the newly-digitized Jane Karl Mid-century Modern Architectural Rendering collection, now available on the Arizona Memory Project! This collection has been so much fun to work with, not only because it is so visually stunning, but because it has given us a chance to collaborate with lots of great colleagues, historic preservationists, and the artist’s son, Phil Karl.

Scanned Image

Last year, some historic preservation friends put us in touch with the City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office. Because they work so much with the architectural and historic preservation community in Phoenix, they were alerted to a wonderful collection that needed a home – the Jane Karl collection. Jane Karl and her husband Walter owned an architectural renderings studio, and did work for noted architects such as Del Webb and John F. Long. Unable to house the collection there, they were delighted to connect us with Phil Karl, the artist’s son, who donated the collection to thScanned Imagee archives in May.

This collection is preserved and accessible thanks to the work of so many friends and collaborators! The City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office was great to put us in touch with the artist’s son. Phil Karl was so generous in not only donating the collection, but working with Alison King of modernphoenix.net to provide robust descriptive information on the collection. Richard Prouty helped us with getting the collection online, and you can see a great cross-section of the collection here: http://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/cdm/landingpage/collection/archkarl. Scanned Image


Arizona’s Veterans through the Eyes of History

When: Friday, November 14, 2014, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Where: The Polly Rosenbaum State Archives Building, 1901 W. Madison 

Join us for a celebration of Arizona’s Veterans through the eyes of history.  America’s servicemen and women have long been an important part of Arizona history.  Starting in the territorial days when soldiers were stationed here to ensure the safety of Arizonans, followed by Frank Luke Jr.’s heroic military efforts during World War I, and the state’s significance as a training base for World War II soldiers and aviators.

On Friday, November 14, the State Archives will host an exhibit of unique and interesting military records that are part of the State Archives’ collections.  Archivists will be on hand to talk about these collections and discuss research interests you might have.

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On display will be an 1864 Map of the Military Department of New Mexico (which includes Arizona), the U.S. War Department – Military Map #1, a collection of letters written by Private Austin Seavey while he was stationed in Arizona from 1876 to 1881.  Photographs of military encampments during the territorial era will also be on display.  Selected examples of letters written by soldiers returning to Arizona after World War II to Governor Sydney Osborn describing the hardships they faced trying to reintegrate into civilian life will be available for the public to read.

Indian Scouts

These items are just a fraction of the material relating to veterans in the State Archives.  Collections include Veteran’s Association periodicals, lists and maps of military posts, General Orders, naturalization papers of World War I veterans, and photographs and documents from the Frank Luke Jr. collection.

To learn more about the official archives for Arizona’s state and local government permanent records, visit http://www.azlibrary.gov/arm. Archives and Records Management, a branch of the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, collects, preserves and makes available public records, historical manuscripts, photographs, newspapers and other materials that contribute to Arizona’s history.

Happy Election Day!

Happy election day! We hope you have a chance to get out and vote today, if you haven’t already! Election day is not just an important day to practice your civic duty, it’s also an opportunity to recognize historic events that got us here. Today marks 100 years since women were first able to vote in a statewide election. We hope you’ll stop by today or in the next few days to check out some of the wonderful resources we have here at the State Archives related to the struggle for women’s suffrage.

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Arizona became a state in February 1912.  Prior to statehood, while writing the state’s new constitution, the issue of women’s suffrage came up.  Influential politician, George Hunt, who was president of the constitutional convention, decided not to support women’s right to vote, in part because he was concerned that the President of the United States would deny our request for statehood if we included suffrage in our constitution.  Also, at the time, a lot of men were concerned about the strong support many women had towards temperance.  These men feared that if women could vote they would back candidates that supported prohibition.

However, the state constitution gave voters the right to amend the constitution through the initiative process.  The Arizona Equal Suffrage Campaign Committee was organized and collected the 3,342 male signatures required by law to get a women’s suffrage initiative on the November 1912 ballot.  This initiative passed and became part of Arizona’s constitution nearly 8 years before women were granted the right to vote in national elections.

urns out the saloon supporters were right. Temperance supporters circulated a petition to institute prohibition in Arizona and the majority of the signers were women.  In the 1914 election the Arizona prohibition initiative passed and we became a dry state in 1915.


This wagon was used to dampen the dusty streets of Phoenix with alcohol the day that prohibition went into effect.

To NDNP and Beyond!

By Eden Robins, ADNP project manager

                                        “Change is inevitable. Progress is optional.”                                                                       ~Tony Robbins

Dome Renovation

Once again I visited our nation’s capital to attend the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) awardee conference. This year, however, was a little different. As I arrived at my hotel, I saw that the capitol dome I had so admired during my last visit was surrounded by scaffolding; clearly in the midst of a major renovation. When I researched what was happening, I learned that the renovation was for the purpose of stopping the current level of deterioration in the dome’s cast iron. Doing so would protect and preserve the interior of the dome and the rotunda for the future.

During one of my walks around the city, I took a closer look and could still see the original dome beneath all of the scaffolding. It appeared strong and enduring, despite the work being done. As I noted this, I considered what renovations were being done and how that might change the dome. Would it look different, would it look exactly the same? Would it be stronger, better or more beautiful?

What’s going to happen is unknown, but regardless of this, I know one thing for certain. Change is on its way.

It was more than the dome, however, that was different this year. In addition to my regular conference, I attended a preconference entitled, Beyond NDNP, to discuss what states around the country were going to do once their digital newspaper grant work for the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Library of Congress and Chronicling America had finished. For Arizona, that was coming up fast. At the end of 2014, Arizona’s funding to contribute newspaper content to the National Digital Newspaper Program would end.

Then what? How might things change? How would Arizona continue to document and preserve its history through digitized newspapers? Would things be completely different or look exactly the same? Would a program develop that was stronger, better or more comprehensive?

What’s going to happen is unknown, but regardless of this, I know one thing for certain:Change is on its way.

Beyond NDNP Forum

Beyond NDNP Forum 2014, rooftop of the Intercontinental Willard Hotel, Washington DC


And that’s exactly what the Beyond NDNP two day forum was all about. Nationwide, states creating these digital newspapers for public access were facing the same questions as Arizona, and trying to come up with solutions. So, in an effort to address change, transition and progress, about twenty five states met for the first time to discuss and think about how we might move forward together beyond the NDNP grant. In addition, representatives from organizations who understand the importance and historic relevance of the newspaper digitization work being done were there to offer their support.

The two day preconference meeting took place in the office complex of the historic Willard Intercontinental Hotel in DC, overlooking the National Mall. This hotel, which dates back to 1818 has seen everything from Charles Dickens staying there in 1842 (and again in 1887), the Peace Convention being held there in 1861, Franklin D Roosevelt’s inauguration there in 1937,  Martin Luther King, Jr. finishing his I Have a Dream speech while staying there in 1963, to the George Bush Sr. Inauguration in 1989.

Willard Intercontinental DC

Willard Intercontinental, Washington DC

Despite its long and historic heritage, this iconic landmark is now transformed into one of the most eco-friendly hotels in DC and was, in fact, the first hotel in the city to be 100% wind powered. In light of that, it seemed fitting that our Beyond NDNP group had our inaugural forum there.

What’s going to happen is unknown, but regardless of this, I know one thing for certain. Change is on its way.

 Just as I’m hopeful that the capitol dome will transition from its renovated state into something stronger and better, I too hope that our Beyond NDNP group will weather this change as the Willard Intercontinental  has done, emerging into an era of newspaper digitization, preservation and public access that becomes a force which is both enduring and innovative.