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Title: Introduction
Author: Blair, Ann M.
Citation: Blair, Ann. 2010. "Introduction." In Archival Knowledge Cultures in Europe, 1400-1900 Edited by Randolph Head), 10 (3): 195-2000.
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Abstract: Like the special issue of 2007 (Archival Science 7:4, “Toward a Cultural History of Archives”), “In and Out of the Archives” showcases recent work by historians on the formation, organization and use of archives. The papers contained in this issue seek to shed new light on a range of historical concerns, including the origins of modern attitudes toward documents and the ideals and tools of governance devised by states and institutions during crucial phases of their development. With its focus on archiving and archival documents in various European contexts from roughly 1400 to 1700, the research here examines a period well known for the growth of bureaucracies and the consolidation of powers of government, whether in city-states, principalities or nations, often in conjunction with concurrent imperial expansion, religious confessionalization and war. In each of the cases studied (in Venice and cities in Switzerland, Flanders and Germany, in England and Spain, in the Jesuit order and in the Catholic and Protestant principalities of Northwest Germany), archives were formed or transformed during this period, as a result of (among other factors) practical pressures like the rapid accumulation of documents, a heightened awareness of the risk of loss, and political ambitions to consolidate power through the collection, control and use of documents.
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