Under the direction of the Assistant State Archivist, the Tennessee State Library and Archives will, from time to time, issue advisories on archives management topics that are important to archives managers in state and local government. These advisories are meant to serve as guidelines to provide information on basic archival principles and techniques.
Sometimes, collectors like to obtain records relating to, for example, Civil War history or African-American slavery. For more information about the nationwide interest in these items, see our article on "eBay Sales of Public Records."
Tennessee has a replevin law that provides for the restoration of alienated public records to their rightful custodians. Law enforcement authorities can reclaim these documents without any compensation to the would-be private owner. Contact TSLA if you have knowledge of the whereabouts of misplaced public records, or if you would like to report a lost or stolen public record.
Staff members at TSLA's Archives Development Program will work with you to determine whether items are, indeed, government records that belong in a state or county archive. By avoiding the purchase of stolen records on eBay or through other auctions, you will ultimately save time, the loss of your money, and potential lawsuits. It will also ensure that we, as Tennessee citizens, continue to have access to the records of our own government.
f you are a document collector, dealer, or staff member at an archives, library, historical society, or museum, you can:
- avoid buying, selling, or trading in lost or stolen Tennessee public records.
- identify lost or stolen public records and report them to the Tennessee State Library and Archives.
The Archives Development Program works with county and municipal governments to improve the storage conditions of and access to local government records.