US National Archives

US National Archives

The U.S. National Archives is the Nation's record keeper, ensuring continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. Our mission to serve American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our Government ensures that the people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. Our new partnership with HistoryPin is one more way in which we seek to support democracy, promote civic education, and facilitate historical understanding of our national experience.

The National Archives was established in 1934 by President Franklin Roosevelt, but its major holdings date back to 1775. Only those Federal records that are judged to have continuing value -- about 2 to 5 percent of those generated in any given year-- are kept by the Archives. Despite that small percentage, the numbers add up over time! Today, in addition to the original National Archives building in Washington, D.C., these records of our national life are stored at 14 regional archives facilities, 17 Federal Records Centers and 12 Presidential Libraries around the country.

The Archives currently holds more than 25 million photographs and 20,000 graphic images (posters and some original artwork) in roughly 2,500 series, as well as approximately 9 billion pages of textual records; 7.2 million maps, charts, and architectural drawings; billions of machine-readable data sets; and more than 365,000 reels of film and 110,000 videotapes. All of these materials are preserved because they are important to the workings of Government, have long-term research worth, or provide information of value to citizens.

To learn more about photographic holdings at the U.S. National Archives, visit

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