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Abstract

From 1950 to 1985 the federal government experienced much success in disposing of records with insufficient retention values. During those thirty-five years some 140 million cubic feet of records were created, and some 120 million cubic feet of records were destroyed. By way of comparison, between 1789 and 1950 the federal government created less than 30 million cubic feet of records and destroyed less than 10 million cubic feet of records. To a large extent the success the federal government has experienced in efficiently and effectively destroying temporary records, particularly during the past four decades, is the result of the records disposition activities of the National Archives. While these activities prior to 1950 are generally well known and appreciated, those since 1950 are not. What follows is a discussion of those efforts during the past thirty-five years and a brief discussion of what the future holds in store for the National Archives and the federal government.

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