Election Season is Upon Us!

It’s just five more days until election day, so we decided to collaborate with our pals at the Capitol Museum and the Digital Arizona Library to put together a display of some of our more interesting treasures from our collections. Stop by the reading room if you have a chance, but here is a sneak preview!


This act gives instruction as to the collection of poll taxes, 1899. The first first act related to poll taxes was passed in 1879, and poll taxes were declared unconstitutional in 1963 with the Twenty-fourth Amendment.


A George W.P. Hunt campaign poster, undated. (ca. 1920s or 1930s)


A telegram of congratulations to George W.P. Hunt from G.C. Ruffner.


A congressional district map from 1965, when Arizona had only three districts! Many thanks to Ryan Ehrfurth for contributing this from the Digital Arizona Library.


Some ephemera goodies courtesy of the Arizona Capitol Museum – many thanks to Museum Curator Stephanie Mahan!


A selection of photos from our Photo Archivist, Wendi Goen.


Happy 35th Birthday, Groundwater Management Act!


Stop by the display case at the State Archives to see some of the original documents from the passage of the Groundwater Management Act!

Water in the American West is always a hot topic, but it’s made the news a lot more in recent years as California has struggled with drought, and western states continue to discuss how to allocate water resources. Determining how to parse out scarce water resources in our own arid region, and how to plan for tough times, has been a part of Arizona’s history. 2015 marks 35 years since one of the most important pieces of water management legislation was signed by Governor Bruce Babbitt, the Groundwater Management Act of 1980.


Governor Bruce Babbitt

The Groundwater Management Act was written by a 25-member groundwater commission (we have those records, too!), who took a year and a half to learn the complexities of water laws. Tough questions they asked included who should have the right to pump groundwater and how much?; what methods should be used to reduce the groundwater overdraft?; and should groundwater be managed primarily at the state or local level?

The Act was signed into law on June 11, 1980. The law restricted new agricultural use of groundwater, required permits for new industrial uses, restricted the drilling of large wells, and implemented the rule that new development subdivisions be able to guarantee 100 years of water supply. The Act also divided the state into four Active Management Areas, with a series of water management plans adopted for each area.


Active Management Areas designated by the Groundwater Management Act

Prior to the passage of the Groundwater Management Act, Secretary of the Interior Cecil Andrus warned Governor Babbitt that funding for the Central Arizona Project could be threatened, but the reforms ensured that funding for CAP was secured. In the 35 years since its passage, the Groundwater Management Act has been lauded as a landmark piece of legislation that has left the state’s water supply in a more assured position from that of neighboring states.

We have lots of resources related to the Groundwater Management Act, including the Governor Bruce Babbitt records (RG 1, SG 23), the Arizona Groundwater Management Study Commission (RG 48), and the Department of Water Resources (RG 142). Stop by to see the materials on display, or come by to do some research!


Governor Babbitt’s speech following the passage of the Groundwater Management Act.

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


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.

RG99_SG10_B01_F05_I01_suffrage_handbill (3)


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.