The New England Archivists was formed in 1973 at the Society of American Archivists meeting in Cleveland, Ohio in response to a growing need for regional representation and advocacy. The organization is incorporated as a nonprofit organization under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. NEA’s enduring charge headlines our organization’s By-Laws: "to foster the preservation and use of records of enduring value in New England, public and private, corporate and individual, and to improve the management and public awareness and understanding of such records, by providing pre-professional and continuing education in archival theory and practices; a forum for the exchange of information among individuals and institutions having responsibility for records of enduring value in the region; and appropriate means of communication and cooperation with other archival organizations and with individual and groups of allied professions."
The NEA's ongoing concerns are supporting the individuals and institutions preserving and making available for use original documentary materials. NEA hosts an annual conference, a fall symposium, and several day-long workshops and seminars each year. These opportunities provide a thorough examination of topics of interest to members of the archival community and provide a forum for group discussions and the exchange of ideas on topics such as access, preservation, arrangement and description, records management, and appraisal.
1972: First proto-NEA meeting: 21 people gathered at the Sheraton-Columbus (OH), during that year’s Society of American Archivists (SAA) annual meeting, and determined that a regional organization was needed for New England [Original Steering Committee: T.D. Seymour Bassett, Robert Clausas, Richard Hale, and Sylvie Turner] (November 2)
1973: First meeting of New England Archivists at Bentley College (April 3); NEA Constitution adopted (October 26)
1974: NEA adopts SAA Anti-discrimination Resolution, committing to the “elimination of discrimination because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, lifestyle or political affiliation" in archival employment; Membership dues increase from $2 to $3 annually
1975: Archivist of the United States, James Rhoads, addresses the NEA Membership at the annual meeting in New Haven
1977: NEA drafts a resolution supporting the independence of the National Archives and Records Service (NARS); First fall meeting takes place at University of Maine, Portland
1978: First edition of the Membership Directory is produced, costing members $.75 (+ $.24 postage); Education Committee formed
1979: First joint meeting, with Mid-Atlantic Archives Conference (MARAC) in Albany; First membership survey; membership passes 250 members
1980: NEA adopts a new logo; Newsletter inaugurates President’s column
1981: NEA raises dues to $5 annually; membership passes 300 members
1982: NEA and SAA host joint meeting in Boston
1982: University of Connecticut at Storrs becomes the archival repository for NEA
1983: Inaugural Hale Award for Professional Development given (initially underwritten by the Katz Foundation); NEA reception at SAA (in Minneapolis) becomes rowdy, broken up by the local constabulary (Oct 6); NEA delivers statements to the federal government on an independent National Archives, the State of Connecticut on that state’s archives program, and to the state of Massachusetts in support of legislation to dis-impound and transfer vital records to State Archives.
1986: NEA establishes Task Force on Archives and Society; membership survey reports that the average NEA member is working in a non-public records archival repository, makes $22.5K/year, has 7.5 years work experience, been at present position for 4 years, has MLS/MA, and has been a NEA member for around 5 years; membership engage in a passionate (and often heated) debate over archival certification
1987: Haas Award in Records Management is inaugurated (in partnership with ARMA-Boston); NEA receives NHPRC grant for a two-year project "Education through Cooperation: The NE region." (aka: The Education Project); NEA creates the Long-Range Planning Committee and the Task Force on Administration, signaling a commitment to strategic planning
1989: First formal long-range plan announced, which includes initiatives in education, development, advocacy, and outreach; Membership dues are raised to $10 annually
1990: Membership Committee is formed; membership debate the process of electing leadership (contested vs. uncontested); NEA fields a softball team at the SAA annual meeting in Seattle
1991: Newsletter accepts submissions via floppy disks
1992: NEA produces operations manual; A committee is formed to mount major survey of membership for 20th anniversary
1993: NEA celebrates its 20th anniversary during the spring meeting at JFK Library, Boston, with over 200 in attendance; Second strategic plan announced - the Long-Range Plan; Task Force in Research and Development is established
1994: NEA holds joint meeting with AMIA; Membership dues are raised to $15 annually
1995: NEA establishes Task Force on Future Directions, representing its third long-range strategic initiative; membership surpassess 500 members
1996: Website is launched
1998: Membership dues are raised to $20 annually
2002: Joint fall meeting with MARAC in Poughkeepsie, NY; Task Force on Future Meetings is established, NEA fourth official strategic planning initiative; TF on Fiscal Efficiency issue report to Executive Board calling for increased membership, robust fund-raising, and modifying modes of electronic communication; Survey Task Force established
2003: 30th Anniversary meeting takes place at Simmons College, Boston; NEA starts email listservs (NEADiscuss and NEAAnnounce)
2004: membership dues are raised to $30 annually
2005: results of nine Membership Input Meetings (MIM) published in Newsletter, reflecting the state of NEA; Executive Board updates NEA Mission Statement; Branding Committee formed, to define and maintain NEA visual marketing identity
2006: Haas award amount is raised from $500 to $1000; New NEA logo is introduced (“tabbed file folders”) reflecting the colors of New England’s brick buildings and cranberry bogs, with the tagline “Taking the Past into the Future”
2009: By-laws change accommodates new Student half-price membership
2010: NEA launches its fifth long-range strategic initiative, the Strategic Plan 2010-2015; the Membership directory and Executive Board elections move to online platforms; Communications Committee established; NEA approves an Advocacy Policy
2011: NEA establishes a Diversity Task Force
2012: Roundtables are introduced; NEA approves a bridge-rate, offering discounted meeting registration to unemployed or underemployed members; Three-day Meeting task force examines changes to meeting structure; fall meeting registers an all-time high 318 registrants
2013: NEA celebrates its 40th year with “Forty Years and New Frontiers” spring meeting at Holy Cross, Worcester; StoryCorps conducts interviews at the spring meeting; Social “meet-ups” and the annual Day of Service begin; new web platform, with online registration, is approved; Newsletter features color covers in honor of the 40th anniversary year; NEA hosts first fall symposium, at Amherst College; NEA partners with Yale University to sponsor a new open-access archival journal: the Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies; Development Task Force established
2014: NEA adds Inclusion and Diversity Coordinator to the Executive Board; NEA moves to a revolving membership year; membership dues are raised to $35 annually; NEA approves Constituency Task Force; NEA pilots a mentoring program;
2015: NEA hosts joint meeting with MARAC at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston, which sets a meeting attendance record with 411 NEA registrants; Executive Board officially adopts three-day spring meeting structure after two-year trial; Susan J. von Salis Student Meeting and Travel Scholarship and the Member Meeting and Travel Scholarship inaugurated; Records schedule for NEA’s institutional records approved;
2016: Sixth long-range planning initiative begins, with the Strategic Plan 2016-2020 and new Mission and Vision statements; Membership approve an NEA Code of Conduct; formal NEA Mentoring program begins.
The first two NEA presidents served for two years each. Sylvie Turner is also the first name listed on the incorporation paper in the NEA Archives, dated November 2, 1973.