BLACKSBURG, Va., March 20, 2009 – Aaron Purcell, director of Special Collections at the Virginia Tech University Libraries, has been appointed to serve on the Virginia State Historical Records Advisory Board (VSHRAB) by Gov. Timothy Kaine.
VSHRAB works to promote an understanding of the importance of historical records and ensure their preservation. The first board members were appointed in 1976 by former Virginia Governor Mills E. Godwin Jr., one year after passing the Virginia Public Records Act.
By federal mandate, the board reviews grant proposals from Virginia to the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the grant-making affiliate of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Federal regulations require every state or territory wishing to participate in NHPRC grant programs must establish a state historical records advisory board to review grants and make recommendations to the commission.
In addition to reviewing NHPRC grant applications, the 11-member citizen board is the central advisory body for historical records planning in Virginia. They survey repositories, support the Library of Virginia's records management program, promote the sharing of collection information, and encourage the professional development of archivists, curators, volunteers, and others dedicated to the task of caring for Virginia's documentary heritage.
"Preservation of Virginia's records is especially important because of the richness of her history and the high quality of her contributions to the formation of a nation," said Mills, upon the creation of the board in 1976.
Purcell has worked at the Virginia Tech University Libraries since November 2007, and previously served as university archivist at the University of Tennessee. He has a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Tennessee and is author of the forthcoming book, White Collar Radicals: TVA's Knoxville Fifteen, The New Deal, and the McCarthy Era.