The Wonderful Earle Florence

Over the past few years, we’ve been pretty proud to develop a collecting strength in the area of architectural records. Because a lot of the great mid-century architects here in the Valley have left the field in recent years, the architectural community has reached out to archivists to make sure that these records don’t find their way into dumpsters! We cannot thank this architectural records advisory board enough for introducing us to Earle Florence!

Use this

Earle in his studio, completing a landscape sketch to contribute to his pal Christopher’s coffee table train set.

Earle received some architectural training at the University of Michigan, but did most of his learning on his own. He didn’t graduate, but did go on to join the American Institute of Architects. He married his sweetheart Donna in the 1950s, the couple relocated to Arizona, and Earle began working in the architecture field in the early 1960s. Earle’s name shows up in the company of many well-known architects in Phoenix – he worked with Bennie Gonzales, partnered with George Schoneberger, and jokes about being fired by Ralph Haver.


Earle and Donna at their home in Mesa, shortly before they relocated to the East Coast.

There is no question that Earle is a brilliant architect, and he produced a variety of wonderful residential, commercial, and civic projects. He told stories of designing a house in the Bahamas for Charles Keating (yes…THAT Charles Keating!), of working with Bennie Gonzales on the Scottsdale Civic Center, and the Henrich House. The Henrich Project never got to construction, but Earle told us, “this would have been my zenith.”


Earle told us that the Henrich House would have been his “zenith.” What an incredible house it would have been!

Earle is a fantastic architect, but like many other architects, he also shines artistically. Through the years, he has filled volumes and volumes of notebooks with beautiful art and his musings on the world around him.

We were very honored to receive the Earle Florence collection here at the State Archives over the past few months. Earle contributed architectural records, artists’ journals, photographs, and other materials, many of which are inventoried on our ARIZONA STATE KNOWLEDGE DATABASE. You can also go directly to the FULL FINDING AID.

We would like to thank both Earle and Donna Florence for making sure that this collection was saved for future generations, as well as their wonderful hospitality and storytelling throughout the transfer process. We wish them all the very best in their new home on the East Coast!



Dillinger Days!

As Tucson prepares for the annual Dillinger Days, we thought we’d share what we have – or rather, what we don’t have – in the archives. dillinger

But first, the Dillinger back story. John Herbert Dillinger was a well-known Depression-era gangster who operated a group called the “Dillinger Gang,” a notorious group wanted for robbing 24 banks, four police stations, and was charged with the murder of an Indiana police officer. Dillinger was also famous for escaping jail twice, and found his way to Tucson to lay low after the gang’s crime sprees.

The group was spending some time at Hotel Congress, but on January 22, 1934, their plans to hide out were interrupted. A fire started in the basement of the hotel, and following an evacuation, Tucson firefighters retrieved nearly $24,000 in cash stowed away in heavy suitcases. The firemen recognized the gang from True Detective Magazine, tipped off local police, and they were able to capture the gang members on North Second Avenue. Dillinger was extradited to Indiana, where he was placed in jail and escaped once again! In July of 1934, Dillinger met his demise at the hands of Chicago Police, who shot and killed him outside of the Biograph Theater. Hotel Congress still observes the illustrious gangster’s stay in their hotel with a weekend of Speakeasy fun!


A Spanish Language Newspaper, El Tucsonense, reported on the capture of Dillinger.


And now the archives part. A few years ago, we received some microfilm from the Tucson Police Department containing several years of police reports. We were able to locate the police report sheets for all of Dillinger’s accomplices, but the sheet for Dillinger was mysteriously missing from the roll of film! The suspense continues. Have fun at Dillinger Days if you make it this weekend! dillinger-and-gang0001 dillinger-and-gang0002 dillinger-and-gang0003 dillinger-and-gang0004 dillinger-and-gang0005 dillinger-and-gang0006 dillinger-and-gang0007 dillinger-and-gang0008

Mold and foxing and termite damage, oh my!

We recently received a transfer of some pretty nasty county records, and in the spirit of starting the new year off right, we are tackling the challenge. Unfortunately, these records have both mold and termite damage! Some will be microfilmed and destroyed, while others are beyond repair. archivistscoverupA few things to know:

  1. Be careful about where you store records! Leaky basements, musty attics, or outbuildings like barns and sheds are not appropriate storage!
  2. It’s a lot easier to be proactive about storage of records than to repair them later (and a lot less expensive!)
  3. Mold is one of the biggest threats to the health of archivists. We appreciate it when folks take care of their records so we don’t have to worry about this when they come!

If you have any questions about the storage of your records, feel free to give us a call at 602.926.3720.

Election Season is Upon Us!

It’s just five more days until election day, so we decided to collaborate with our pals at the Capitol Museum and the Digital Arizona Library to put together a display of some of our more interesting treasures from our collections. Stop by the reading room if you have a chance, but here is a sneak preview!


This act gives instruction as to the collection of poll taxes, 1899. The first first act related to poll taxes was passed in 1879, and poll taxes were declared unconstitutional in 1963 with the Twenty-fourth Amendment.


A George W.P. Hunt campaign poster, undated. (ca. 1920s or 1930s)


A telegram of congratulations to George W.P. Hunt from G.C. Ruffner.


A congressional district map from 1965, when Arizona had only three districts! Many thanks to Ryan Ehrfurth for contributing this from the Digital Arizona Library.


Some ephemera goodies courtesy of the Arizona Capitol Museum – many thanks to Museum Curator Stephanie Mahan!


A selection of photos from our Photo Archivist, Wendi Goen.

2016 Archives Month Activities

-Many thanks to Shannon Walker of the Thunderbird School of Global Management for compiling this list! 


Louie’s Legacy Project at Northern Arizona University

NAU celebrates the completion of Louie’s Legacy as an innovative use of archival content and technology. It allows students, faculty, and the broader community to learn about the history of the campus through its built environment through the use of QR codes.

Online at (


 Wednesday, October 5th, 11:00 AM-3:00 PM
Arizona Historical Society Sneak Preview and Tour (Tempe)

The Arizona Historical Society’s Tempe Library and Archives is celebrating Archives Month with a screening of several Wallace & Ladmo episodes.  The popular children’s show aired from 1954-1989 and combined live skits, local musicians and cartoons and poked fun at the daily news. The screening will be followed by a behind-the-scenes tour of the Arizona Historical Society’s Library & Archives. Rarely seen items will be available for viewing.


Arizona Heritage Center, 1300 N College Ave, Tempe, AZ 85281


Wednesday, October 5th

(Opening remarks from Secretary Reagan at 2:00 PM, presentation by Denise Lundin at 3:00 PM, materials on exhibit October 5th, 2:00-4:00 PM)

Finding the OK Corral Inquest Papers

The Gunfight at the OK Corral occurred 135 years ago this October 26th yet is still subject of much public fascination.  Almost all of the original court documents have been lost to history, but a few remain.  Just 6 years ago some of the transcripts of the Coroner’s Inquest into the shooting resurfaced after being misplaced for decades in the court clerk’s dusty records storage.  Come hear from that now-retired court clerk about her search for, and ultimate discovery of, our state’s precious documentary heritage AND see the papers themselves, now restored and in the public domain.


Historic Arizona State Capitol, 3rd floor, Margaret B. Cooley Room, 1700 W. Washington, Phoenix AZ 85007


Wednesday, October 5th and Thursday, October 6th

(Exhibit 9:00 AM-4:00 PM)

Legends of the West: The Tombstone and Arizona Territory Collection of Jim Melikian

This collection includes the earliest known postal cancellation from Tombstone (August 26, 1879), a bank draft stamped on the day of the O.K. Corral Shootout (October 25th, 1881), numerous correspondence between the city’s and Cochise County’s founders, very rare photographs, an advertising broadside offering the O.K. Corral itself, a Pima County Bank note demanding payment from Tom and Frank McLaury – both were killed in the gunfight, and much, much more. It is an Old West goldmine in documents and photos.


Historic Arizona State Capitol, 3rd Floor, Margaret B. Cooley Room, 1700 W. Washington, Phoenix AZ 85007


Friday October 7, 8:00 AM-4:45 PM

2nd Arizona Women’s History Symposium, “Arizona Women at Work: From the Family Economy to the Workplace” (Tempe)

Interested in learning about the history of Arizona women? In listening to and talking with historians who write about Arizona women? In researching and writing about Arizona women?  In meeting archivists and others who have research collections? This symposium represents the second major public educational project of the Arizona Women’s History Alliance (AWHA), a collaboration of the Arizona Women’s Hall of Fame and the Arizona Women’s Heritage Trail. With opening remarks by Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan, the goal of the symposium is to encourage the audience to participate in conversations about the contributions of Arizona women representing our rich and diversified cultural and social history. It is an opportunity for attendees to hear and talk to notable scholars and archivists about conducting research on Arizona women, the process of historical inquiry, providing historical context and answering the “so what” questions.  It will help identify assumptions about working women’s roles, discuss the importance of placing women in historical context and stimulate thinking about the research, writing and interpretation of women’s history.


Arizona Heritage Center, Steele Auditorium, 1300 North College, Tempe, AZ 85281


 Friday October 7, 9:00 AM-3:00 PM

What’s My Job Again? A Symposium on Refining Archivists’ Roles (Tempe)

The Arizona Archives Alliance (AzAA) presents a symposium that explores the shifting roles of archivists, including in-depth discussions on job titles, responsibilities, and the need for functional analyses of existing jobs in archival repositories.  Featuring speakers: Chrystal Carpenter of Elon University and Erin O’Meara of the University of Arizona.  The symposium is offered at no cost thanks to funding generously provided by a grant from the Arizona Historical Records Advisory Board.


Tempe History Museum, 809 E Southern Ave, Tempe, AZ 85281


Friday, October 7th, 4:00-6:00 PM
Arizona Historical Society Archives Tour (Tucson)

In celebration of National Archives Month, the Arizona Historical Society Library and Archives in Tucson will be hosting a behind the scenes tour of the Archives and an open house with a special selection of materials on display from 4 to 6pm on October 7th, 2016. The first tour will begin at 4:30pm and the second will begin at 5:15pm. Archival materials will be available for viewing in the reading room from 4 to 6pm.


Arizona History Museum, 949 E Second St., Tucson, AZ 85719


 Friday, October 7th, 4:30-6:00 PM

Northern Arizona University special exhibit

Join us for the opening for our exhibit chronicling the University era at NAU.


Northern Arizona University, Special Collections and Archive, Cline Library

(928) 523-5551


Wednesday October 12th, 11:30 AM

Tempe Historical Society Lunch Talks

Mark Vinson will present “From Teepees to ‘the House of the Future’:  Midcentury Buildings of the East Valley and the Stories behind Them.” Tempe, Mesa, Chandler and other East Valley communities experienced phenomenal growth in the 30-year period following the end of World War II.  Along with changes in the economy, transportation and lifestyle, building design in the area underwent a radical transformation. Vinson is Tempe’s former City Architect and founding Historic Preservation Officer, he will describe and illustrate many of these buildings, their history, styles and architects. Admission is free, with coffee and light refreshments provided.


Tempe History Museum, 809 E Southern, Tempe AZ 85282 (480) 350-5100


Wednesday October 12th, 7:00 PM

Book Launch: And TiKo-Tu, the Midcentury Architecture of Greater Phoenix’ East Valley

By Mark Vinson

Tempe, Mesa, Chandler and other East Valley communities experienced phenomenal growth in the 30-year period following the end of World War II.  Along with changes in the economy, transportation and lifestyle, building design in the area underwent a radical transformation.  And TiKo-Tu, a new book published by the Rio Salado Architecture Foundation, describes and illustrates many of these buildings, their history, styles and architects.  Mark Vinson, FAIA/AICP, Tempe’s former City Architect and founding Historic Preservation Officer, is the principal author.  Other contributors include the Tempe Historical Society’s Vic Linoff, Ron Peters, AIA/AICP, Tempe resident Michelle Korf, Christine Wahlstrom Weiss and ASU student Raymie Humbert, with a Forward by Grady Gammage, Jr.


Tempe History Museum, 809 E Southern, Tempe AZ 85282 (480) 350-5100


Thursday, October 13, 10:30 a.m. -2:30 p.m.

Little Known Treasures in the State Archives (Phoenix)

In honor of Arizona Archives Month, the State Archives will display some of the wonderful records we have in our collections. Come and see Billy Breckenridge’s hand-written version of the Gunfight at the OK Corral, the Extradition to the Governor of Colorado for Wyatt Earp and friends, property owners in 1890s downtown Phoenix, the 1910 Constitution with seal and signatures, evidence from trunk murderess Winnie Ruth Judd’s court case, colorful trademarks, rare photographs, maps and more.


Polly Rosenbaum State Archives and History Building, 1901 W. Madison, Phoenix, AZ  85009


Tuesday October 18th, 10:00 AM

Preserving the Past, the Map Digitization Project & Library Tour

A presentation of the techniques, methodology, and concerns surrounding the digitization of our recorded past. The event is directed toward folks interested in maps, document preservation, digitization, and the Museum Library. The presentation will cover document encapsulation techniques employed for the project, document handling, sorting, and indexing, logistics, funding, storage, and distribution challenges, stakeholders and partners.


Mohave Museum of History and Arts, 400 West Beale Street, Kingman, Arizona 86401 (928) 753-3195


Wednesday, October 19, 8:30 A.M.-4:30 P.M.

Emergency and Disaster Preparedness Workshop (Phoenix)

On behalf of the Arizona Historical Records Advisory Board (AHRAB), the Arizona State Archives will present a day-long basic workshop aimed at small cultural institutions including historical societies, museums, archives, libraries, and local governments that have records in their collections. We will cover types and scales of disasters, prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery and writing an emergency preparedness plan. Each attendee will receive a notebook and a box with some basic emergency supplies including the Heritage Preservation Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel.

Call Karlee Myers at the State Archives for information on how to register for the workshop (602-926-3729).


Arizona State Records Center, 1900 W. Washington Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85009


Wednesday October 19, 6:00-8:00 PM

Phoenix History Meetup

Join Matthew Luhrs Crane and ASU Libraries Arizona Collection curator Rob Spindler for a social event at the historic Seamus McCaffrey’s pub in Phoenix. See rare videos and photographs from the ASU collections, tell your stories and ask questions about Phoenix history as you enjoy McCaffrey’s  food and drink!


Seamus McCaffrey’s, 18 West Monroe, Phoenix AZ 85003


Thursday October 20th, 5:00-6:30PM

ASU Libraries Online History Treasure Hunt

Grab your tablet or laptop and join ASU archivists in a search for buried historical treasures from the ASU Libraries digital collections! Walk the plank and dive into the many texts, audio and video recordings that have been digitized for your use with this guided tour of our online collections. Conduct your own searches, suggest new materials to digitize and get help with your research interests from our archival experts! One of many Arizona Archives Month events happening this October!


Hayden Library Room C6A, Arizona State University – Tempe campus, 300 E. Orange Mall, Tempe AZ 85201 


Saturday, October 22nd, 1:00-2:30 PM

A Cochise County Treasure Returns Home – OK Corral Inquest Papers and More

Free and Open to the Public

View first-hand the original documents relating to the inquest from the gunfight at the OK Corral.  They’ll be leaving their home at the Arizona State Library and Archives for a brief one day special appearance back to the county from which they originated. Learn of their discovery in an old evidence locker and what it takes to lovingly restore and preserve these integral pieces of our local heritage with Denise Lundin, former County Clerk, currently Business Analyst with the Arizona Supreme Court; and Melanie Sturgeon, Administrator, State Archives. Light refreshments will be served.


Henry F. Hauser Museum, Ethel H. Berger Center, 2950 East Tacoma Street, Sierra Vista, AZ 85635


Monday, October 24th– Friday, October 28th

Mohave County Photograph exhibit

Come join the Mohave Museum of History and Arts on for the themed photo exhibit “Early Mohave County.”  It will be displayed in the lobby of the Mohave County Administration Building. This event, celebrating American Archives Month, is free to the public.


Mohave County Administration Building, 700 W Beale St, Kingman, AZ 86402


Thursday, October 27, 12:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m.

How to Care for Family Photographs and Papers (Phoenix)

Want to learn how to care for old photographs, your great-grand parents’ love letters, a pioneer journal, old maps, and more? Meet one-on-one with the State Archive’s Conservator to talk about how to best preserve your family archives.


Copper Dome Conference Room, State Capitol Museum, Phoenix, AZ 85007


Saturday, October 29, 1:00-2:30 PM

Latino Genealogy & Preservation of Family Archives Workshop

Free and Open to the Public

Are you interested in learning YOUR family story, then join Nancy Liliana Godoy-Powell, Archivist and Librarian of Chicano/a Research Collection, Arizona State University, for an informative and practical workshop designed to help you trace your roots and preserve your precious family archives. Light refreshments will be served.


Henry F. Hauser Museum, Ethel H. Berger Center, 2950 East Tacoma Street, Sierra Vista, AZ 85635



Remembering Rose Mofford

Yesterday, Arizona said goodbye to former Governor Rose Mofford, so we’ve been spending time with some of our favorite materials related to her long career of service here in Arizona. Stop by and see some of the treasures we have on display here at the archives, including Mofford’s 7th grade yearbook in Globe.


“Sat., 30 Sep. 1978 – Arizona Secretary of State Rose Mofford takes a turn on the serving line at Hays Ranch, Peeples Valley, Ariz. – during 45th Annual Yavapai Cattle Growers calf sale and barbecue.” Lloyd Clark Collection, MG 86, Series 1, Box 11, File 69, Image 057.


One of Rose Mofford’s legendary holiday cards.

Rose Perica was born in Globe, Arizona on June 10, 1922, the youngest of six children of Croation immigrants Frances (Oberstar) and John Perica. She attended Globe High School, and exceled both academically and athletically. Rose played basketball and softball, including earning  All-American status as a member of the Arizona Cantaloupe Queens, and turned down a contract to play basketball.



She married Lefty Mofford in 1957, and although the couple divorced ten years later, they remained friends and she kept his surname. She never remarried, never had children, but dedicated her life to civil service in Arizona for more than 50 years. After high school, she began working as a secretary for the State Treasurer, and later as business manager for Arizona Highways. She was appointed Secretary of State in 1977 following the resignation of Raul Castro and Wesley Bolin’s subsequent appointment as governor, and was elected to a full term in 1978. She served as Secretary of State until 1988, when she was elected as Arizona’s first female governor.  A Democrat, she served as Governor from 1988 until 1991, and did not seek re-election.
After leaving public office, Rose Mofford continued to dedicate herself to civic and charitable activities. She passed away on September 15, 2016 at the age of 94. She is remembered for her beehive hairdo, for answering her own phone, and for having a “heart as big as her hair.”

Yesterday’s Vision of Tomorrow

Can you imagine a world without computers? We use them every day in our work, and even have them in our pockets! But when Betty West (Chief Clerk of the Arizona House of Representatives) attended a  seminar on the possible usefulness of computers for legislative work in 1970, she wasn’t convinced. “I am doubtful as to Arizona being ready for computers at this time for legislative work.” The following month, Betty visited the American Micro Systems, Inc. plant in San Jose and scored these computer parts. Our contractor Brianna found these parts filed away in some boxes we received from a member of the House research staff when he retired.

*Fun fact: did you know that we maintain several old computers and machines to help us with our obsolete media? Computers have been tremendous for convenience and efficiency, but digital records have produced a whole host of challenges for archivists in terms of preservation!


Archives Leadership Institute – Berea, Kentucky

– by Libby Coyner, Archivist 


The Archives Leadership 2016 Cohort

It’s been nearly a month since I had the incredible opportunity to attend the Archives Leadership Institute in Berea, Kentucky, and I wanted to jot down a few thoughts about the magical week. The experience gave me lots of great stuff to bring home to my own institution, but on a personal level, I wanted to share how wonderful it was to enjoy a few days in a lovely setting, getting to learn from my colleagues across the country, and to be reminded of how very fortunate I find myself as part of this larger archives community.


The fearless leaders – organizers and mentors at ALI: Daniel Noonan, Rachel Vagts, Geof Huth. Terry Baxter, Tanya Zanish-Belcher. Beth Myers, Brenda Gunn

First off, I want to say thanks to the organizers of Archives Leadership Institute – I know that coordinating a schedule that action-packed is no small feat! On top of that, they made the week accessible to everyone thanks to a grant funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) – I was a recipient of a very generous scholarship that enabled me to attend. ALI receives at least twice as many applications as can attend, so I recognize what an honor it was to have been selected. (I believe I was the lone representation from a state archives).


Our lovely view every morning!

After several canceled flights, missed shuttles, and sleeping on the floor at the airport, I left Phoenix 6 hours late and arrived in Lexington, Kentucky. Berea is a much smaller town about an hour’s drive away, and I was treated to beautiful green rolling hills along the way. Following the Phoenix heat, it was nice to arrive to cooler weather, though I did gain new appreciation for the term “it’s a dry heat” – that humidity! Berea is a town of under 15,000 folks, and is home to Berea College. Berea is a private liberal arts school that uses a unique model of accepting only students with financial need, and offers education free of charge, but with work-trade. Many students work in artisan workshops creating traditional Appalachian crafts, and it is a central goal of the school to keep these crafts alive – broom-making, ceramics, woodworking, and weaving.


Berea College Campus

The ALI schedule was an ambitious one, with days beginning at 7:30 a.m. and lasting until 8 p.m. or later. It was packed with all kinds of fantastic workshops, including assessing our own leadership strengths, working through archives ethical case studies, learning some tricks of project management, advocating for our institutions, and helping one another polish up the practicum projects we had submitted as part of our application process. (My practicum focuses on an archivist swap, so that archivists in Arizona can travel to each other’s institutions for extended periods of time to learn new skills from colleagues).


The beginning stages of my handbroom

A highlight of the visit was a workshop on broom-making, one of the traditional Appalachian crafts taught at Berea College. We had the opportunity to visit the Broomcraft Shop, get a tour of the different types of brooms they create there, and finally, we had the chance to weave our own brooms to take home. As I mentioned, a core mission of Berea College is to keep traditional Appalachian crafts alive, and their students learn skills in broom-making, wood-working, weaving, and potting.


All smiles after lunch with bell hooks!

Of course, sometimes the highlights of a trip may be the serendipitous, unplanned aspects. For me, this was the surprise lunch we were able to have with author, activist, and identity politics thinker bell hooks, who I’ve been reading since I was a teenager. We had the opportunity to enjoy a meal with her, and travel to her center right there in Berea to discuss her life, her work, and her visions for the future. We wouldn’t have had this opportunity if it weren’t for the incomparable Rachel Vagts, Head of Special Collections at Berea College. We learned that Rachel and bell became friends because of a mutual love of popcorn and thrift stores, but their friendship has blossomed into a relationship between bell and the college, and her papers are now deposited in the Berea College Special Collections and Archives.

Rachel’s work speaks to a wonderful quality I see in many archivists – the ability to deal with the most personal details of people’s lives with a sweet professionalism – the recognition that who we are individually is what enables us to connect with the communities whose records we preserve. I’m beyond grateful to have had the chance to attend, and am so happy to call my colleagues my friends!

Introducing the Arizona State Knowledge Center!

KCArchivesAnnouncing the new web based portal for exploring the archive collections at the State Archives of Arizona, the Arizona State Knowledge Center

Do you want to find out which marriage records for Gila County are housed at the state archives?  Just ASK.  Want to find out which records the State Archives has on the Wyatt Earp inquest? Just ASK!  If you’re interested in information about the Alternative Fuel Program, just ASK.

By going to the Arizona State Knowledge Center Catalog  you can research what archival material is housed at the State Archives.  You can either type into the Search Collections tab a search term or terms, check out our Core Collections, or simply browse all of our collections through the Browse by collection tab.

Your search will bring up finding guides that describe the collection, and in many cases provide a file by file list of what is in each collection.  Once you know what collections you are interested in viewing you can stop by the Polly Rosenbaum State Archives and History Building at 1901 W. Madison, Phoenix, Arizona during regular business hours and talk to an archivist about viewing the material in the collections.


“Kitteh can research teh Game & Fish Commission from home!”

Where the heck is Mineville, Arizona?!

Thanks to Archivist Laura Palma-Blandford for this one! 

One of the great things about working at the State Archives is there’s always something to surprise and befuddle you.  We received several Cochise County Justice Court dockets from the Tombstone Courthouse State Park.  I was reviewing one of the dockets to determine its dates when I found an usual case titled “Town of Mineville, Rhiolite County, Arizona vs. Manuel Hernandez and confederates”.  Mineville?   Rhiolite County?  Had I uncovered a previous unknown location in Arizona?

Full pageIf the weird location wasn’t enough, a quick analysis revealed other signs that someone created a fake case.  The previous pages in the docket book are clean and in good shape.  Our conservator concluded that the person had rubbed dirt on the pages to possibly make them look “historical”.  Also, docket books generally do not include verbatim testimony and clerks refrained from using exclamation points.  The legitimate records date from 1901 but the fake case claimed Rhiolite County was in the State of Arizona suggesting that this was done after 1912.

closeupInstances like these are one of the reasons why government archives are adamant about maintaining chain of custody on records being transferred from the creating agency to the archive.  The Arizona State Archives needs to be able to verify that records haven’t left government custody and been altered.  Since the chain of custody was broken and the docket book altered, the entire record has been compromised and a court of law could refuse to take it as evidence.

I do not think this was done with malicious intent but I think it serves as a good reminder of why records should be recognized as having enduring value, even the mundane ones from 1901.