NCH News Briefs, October 2007

Lee White, October 2007

National Park Service Selects New Chief Historian

On August 30, 2007, the National Park Service (NPS) announced the long-awaited selection of Robert K. Sutton as chief historian of the National Park Service. Sutton, who has been superintendent of the Manassas National Battlefield Park since 1995, will assume his new position on October 1, 2007. The chief historian position has remained vacant for over two years since the retirement of Dwight Pitcaithley in June 2005.

Sutton holds a PhD in history from Washington State University. Sutton began his career as a park ranger with Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. Subsequent positions that he held include museum curator with the Oregon Historical Society; historian with the Oregon State Parks; architectural historian with the NPS Southwest Regional Office in Albuquerque, New Mexico; historian with Independence National Historic Park; assistant professor in the history department and director of the public history program at Arizona State University; and assistant superintendent and historian at National Capital Parks-East. Since 1991, he has served as adjunct professor of history at George Mason University. In 2000, Sutton received the Meritorious Service Award of the Department of the Interior.

The chief historian position in the National Park Service is one of the most prestigious historian positions in the federal government. Sutton will be responsible for managing the service’s history programs, which includes coordinating historical studies at the national level, managing the administrative history program, and overseeing the quality of documentation of historic places within national parks.

National Archives Raises Reproduction Fees

In a final rule published in the Federal Register August 17, 2007, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) announced across-the-board fee increases for reproduction of archival materials in its facilities nationwide. In addition to federal records, this includes donated historical materials, presidential records, and records filed with the Office of the Federal Register. This rule became effective on October 1, 2007.

The National Archives’ current fees were established in October 2000 and this is the first fee increase in seven years. In fiscal 2006, the Archives said its costs for fixed-fee services were more than double the revenue it received in copying fees.

As of October 1, 2007, fees for self-service copies will rise from 15¢ per page to 25¢ per page in the Washington, D.C., area, and 20¢ per page at regional archives and presidential libraries. NARA-made copies will be 75¢ per page, up from the current 50¢. Microfilm-to-paper copies made by a customer on a self-service copier would rise from 30¢ per page to 50¢. There would be a minimum fee of $15 for all mail-order reproductions, up from the current $10.

Fixed-fee reproductions of commonly requested genealogical records using the National Archives order forms would be:

  • Passenger Arrival Lists: $25 (NATF Form 81)
  • Federal Census Requests: $25 (NATF Form 82)
  • Eastern Cherokee Applications to the Court of Claims: $25 (NATF Form 83)
  • Land Entry Records: $40 (NATF Form 84)
  • Full Pension File more than 75 years old (Civil War and after), up to 100 pages: $75 (NATF Form 85)
  • Full pension file (pre-Civil War): $50 (NATF Form 85)
  • Pension Documents Packet (selected records): $25 (NATF Form 85)
  • Bounty Land Warrant Application Files: $25 (NATF Form 85)
  • Military service files more than 75 years old: $25 (NATF Form 86)