Mayor's Task Force on Municipal Archives

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Upper portion of Hall of Records, 31 Chambers Street, New York City, circa 1906.

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

Press conference for the press to ask questions of the the task force to ensure the documents of the City are preserved. Mayor Lindsay opens with a description of the planned course of action, noting that in the past the preservation of the City's history has been done rather loosely, resulting in gaps in documentation. He then introduces the members of the task force:
Professor Richard B. Morris, Department of History, Columbia University
Dr. James J. Heslin, Director New York Historical Society
Robert W. Hill, Manuscripts Division, New York Public Library
Professor Joseph McGoldrick, Department of Government Queens College
Dr. John Meng, Hunter College
G. Michael Morris, Registrar City of New York

Morris thanks the assembled audience and speaks of the importance of creating a city archive, specifically noting that there has been a great deal of theft in the past. He says items have been mutilated and sold. Important documents have been stored improperly - near steam and water pipes and subject to fire hazards. They have been inaccessible to researchers.

He identifies 4 goals of the task force:
1. To ascertain the significance and dimension of the problem.
2. To determine how the city's records can be stored more safely and efficiently.
3. To recommend more systematic methods for record disposal and centralization.
4. To investigate the latest devices for information retrieval.

Questions specifically about the sale of autographic materials, as well as stamps. The prosecutor's office is not currently pursuing any of these cases.

Morris believes that a systematic method of record destruction must be instituted. He also believes bulk can be dramatically reduced through microfilming.

Around the 15 minute mark the first portion of the press conference ends, followed by several minutes of room noise.

Mayor Lindsay's usual press conference then proceeds. Questions relate to ferry lay offs following the closure of the Riker's Island ferry.
Other questions relate to a proposal for a review board and budget issues.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 72287
Municipal archives id: T3188