Archives to Retain

Local Church (Monthly Meeting) Archives

– retain locally –

Printable PDF of list


  • Cemetery records (if applicable)
  • Committee records: Minutes, correspondence, special events

“If those taking minutes are instructed to include both actions of the committee and some account of deliberations, then the minutes will be more valuable.” Heritage Preservation: A Resource Book for Congregations by David A. Haury, 1993 (out-of-print)

  • Elder meeting minutes and correspondence
  • Membership records (originals)
  • Newspaper clippings (obituaries of church members, engagement announcements, weddings, special events)

– An exhaustive venture, but can be “extremely valuable” (Haury, p.8)


  • Organization records (Examples: Sunday school, summer camp, outreach ministries, youth groups)

“…the congregational archivist or historical committee should develop a check-list of organizations and systematically insure that appropriate records from each group are being kept and forwarded…” to the local archives.  (Haury, 1993, p.7)


  • Photographic  records “…consider commissioning one or more members…to take photographs of important events in the life of the congregation.” … “Properly developed black and white negatives and photographs will survive indefinitely if properly stored.” (Haury, p.11)

Include photographic images, prints, negatives, digital slides, etc. of the church’s activities and functions. Please make sure they have been labeled with as much information as possible:  “ Who, what, when, where, why” are good questions to answer for this project.

Suggested treatment from the Heritage Preservation: a Resource Book for Congregations: “Photographs must have subject headings assigned, be labeled, and then be sorted according to those headings. … Photographs which are not identified are virtually useless, especially as time passes and the chance of identification diminishes. Record the nature of the event or occasion, names of all of those pictured, and the date. Do not write on the photograph with ink. While one may record some information on the back of the photograph in pencil, it is best to write on the acid-free sleeve or envelope in which the photo is stored.” (Haury, 1993, p.19)

  • Publications (sample bulletins, special event programs, outreach documents, directories, etc.)

“The programs from a special event may be the most important documentation for some groups. In some instances the correspondence of a committee may have great value, and in other cases letters may be repetitive and routine with little value.” (Haury, 1993, p.7)