Warner, Robert Mark, 1927-2007

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Dr. Robert M. Warner served as sixth Archivist of the United States from July 1980 to April 1985, having been appointed by President Jimmy Carter. During his tenure, Dr. Warner led the agency during one of the most important periods in its history: the transformation from a division of the General Services Administration (GSA) to an independent executive agency. His four-year fight for independence was won on October 19, 1984, when President Ronald Reagan signed legislation that removed the National Archives from GSA and renamed the agency the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). In his book, Diary of a Dream: A History of the National Archives Independence Movement, 1980-1985, Dr. Warner describes November 8, 1984, as "one of the very best days of my life. . . Music filled the Rotunda of the National Archives. The usual quiet, almost reverent atmosphere of the splendid classical building which houses our nation's most treasured documents was joyously shattered" by the singing of 'To Dream the Impossible Dream.'... "An impossible dream had come true, an impossible hope was fulfilled. An impossible fight had been won. And we were celebrating." After leaving the National Archives, Dr. Warner returned to the University of Michigan, where he began his career in the History Department and the School of Information and Library Studies. He served as dean of the School of Information from 1985 to 1992. During his tenure as dean, he worked to broaden the school’s curriculum and mission to include archives education as well as library science, boosting the school’s national reputation. Prior to becoming Archivist, Dr. Warner also chaired the planning committee of the Gerald R. Ford Library, which is located on the University of Michigan campus, and later served as secretary of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation. During his long career, he served as the president of the Society of American Archivists (SAA), the Historical Society of Michigan, and the Second European Conference on Archives, and on the boards of the SAA, the American Historical Association, and the American Library Association. Dr. Warner was a Distinguished Fellow of the SAA. In 2005, Dr. Warner was honored for his lasting contribution to the National Archives with the naming of the Robert M. Warner Research Center at the National Archives Building in downtown Washington. At the dedication ceremony, Dr. Warner was praised for working "tirelessly with literally hundreds of supporters within the Archives and among our constituent groups, the Congress, and the White House to make independence a reality. While there were many roadblocks along the way, Dr. Warner persevered and finally won." Dr. Warner responded by thanking NARA for the honor and observing that "being Archivist of the United States was the greatest opportunity I ever had or will have." Dr. Warner died April 24, 2007, of cancer at the age of 79. He was professor emeritus and dean emeritus of the School of Information as well as the University historian. At the time of his death, then-Archivist Allen Weinstein said, "Dr. Warner leaves a permanent legacy at the National Archives," said then-Archivist Allen Weinstein upon Dr. Warner's passing. " Every single employee working here today is grateful to those who contributed to the fight for our independence and particularly to Dr. Warner who led that fight. The strides we have made in the last 22 years could not have been achieved without independence, for which we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Robert Warner."
Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Harris, L. mss., 1931-1977 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
referencedIn Bentley Historical Library records, 1935-2013 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
referencedIn University of Michigan. News and Information Services. Faculty and Staff Files, 1944-2005 (bulk 1960-1995) Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
referencedIn History and Traditions of the University Committee (University of Michigan) interviews, 1991-2004 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
referencedIn William B. Provine collection of evolutionary biology reprints, 20th century. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
creatorOf Warner, Robert Mark, 1927-. Robert M. Warner papers, 1958-1992 (bulk 1980-1992). University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf University of Michigan. School of Information and Library Studies. School of Information and Library Studies (University of Michigan) records, 1904-[ongoing]. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn News and Information Services (University of Michigan) photograph series D (faculty and staff portraits), 1946-2006, 1950-1990 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
referencedIn Stellanova Osborn papers, 1907-1988 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
creatorOf Barnes, Virginia Grant. Virginia Grant Barnes interview, September 19, 1963. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
contributorOf Records Related to the 50th Anniversary Commemorative Stamp Project, 10/1981 - 4/1984 National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Subject Files on the National Archives & Records Service, 1981 - 1985 Ronald Reagan Library
contributorOf Appointment Books and Calendars, 1968 - 1982 National Archives at College Park
contributorOf Speeches of the Archivist of the United States, 1975 - 1989 United States. National Archives and Records Administration
creatorOf Osborn, Stellanova, 1894-1988. Stellanova Osborn papers, 1916-1992. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Program Files, 1979 - 1983 National Archives at College Park
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
memberOf American Historical Association corporateBody
memberOf American Library Association corporateBody
associatedWith Barnes, Virginia Grant. person
associatedWith Bentley Historical Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Gerald R. Ford Library and Museum corporateBody
associatedWith Harris, Leon A. person
memberOf Historical society of Michigan 1874-.... corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan Historical Collections. corporateBody
alumnusOrAlumnaOf Muskingum College corporateBody
associatedWith Osborn, Stellanova, 1894-1988. person
correspondedWith Provine, William B. person
memberOf Society of American Archivists corporateBody
associatedWith Society of American Archivists. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Indian Claims Commission. corporateBody
employeeOf United States. National Archives and Records Administration corporateBody
associatedWith United States. National Archives and Records Service. corporateBody
alumnusOrAlumnaOf University of Michigan. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. History and Traditions of the University Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. News and Information Services corporateBody
employeeOf University of Michigan. School of Information and Library Studies. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Montrose CO US
Ann Arbor MI US
Ann Arbor MI US
Subject
Indians of North America
Land use
Occupation
Archivists
Professor
Activity

Person

Birth 1927-06-28

Death 2007-04-24

Americans

English

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SNAC ID: 57146587