Churches, political organizations, businesses, community groups, voluntary associations, professional associations and other collective enterprises all produce documents that describe their purposes, policies, procedures and activities. They are useful not only for the study of the history of the organization itself, but also for the understanding of its locale, personnel, products and times. These organizational records may include correspondence, reports, minutes, financial and legal papers, photographs and printed materials.
- Minutes often provide the most succinct record of the
discussions and decisions that shaped the organization. In recent years,
minutes have become increasingly perfunctory as organizations have recorded
only the barest of details.
- Organizational correspondence also conveys details
about events, decisions, and routine tasks. These materials may contain
strong opinions and personal reflections that provide insight into the
individuals who guided and shaped the organization. The advent of electronic
mail may permit preservation of dialogue that heretofore went unrecorded
over the telephone lines.
- Organizational records often contain other materials of historical value, such as organizational charts, news releases, membership records, newsletters, catalogs, photographs, annual reports and other legal and financial documents.