Administrative histories chronicle the history of an organization, agency, company, or foundation. Specifically, these examine:
• How the organization originated within a historic context;
• How its administrative policies developed or evolved over time;
• How the primary goals and objectives of the organization are defined; and
• What successes and challenges has the organization had in meeting its goals.
Both private and public organizations may seek to document their administrative histories.
The reasons for undertaking an administrative history project are varied. For some entities, a significant anniversary or event may prompt reflection on the origins of the organization and the process by which it evolved over time. Many federal agencies undertake administrative histories in order to document past policy changes and procedures.
Historical research for administrative histories will usually begin with an analysis of internal records belonging to the relevant organization. Following this investigation, New South Associates places the internal history within a broader context using more generalized primary and secondary historical resources. Project historians often conduct oral history interviews to build a strong foundation on which to compile an administrative history. The personal memories of the events and policies of an organization’s history often provide an administrative history with an array of singular, fascinating information.
New South Associates has completed administrative histories for an array of organizations and institutions, including the Rotary Club of DeKalb County, the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, the National Park Service’s Fort Pulaski, and the Savannah River Site. Current representatives of each of these organizations have told us how much they learned about their group’s operations and history after reading about their administrative past.