About the Archives

The Maine State Archives, a bureau within the Department of Secretary of State, maintains approximately 100 million pages of official State records considered to be permanently valuable. These include bills introduced in the Legislature, Governor's Executive Council Reports, election returns, deeds to and from the State of Maine, maps from the Land Office, vital statistics prior to 1892, federal census records from Maine up to 1930, county court records dating back to the 1639, and military records through World War I, to list a few.

Archives Services Division preserves and provides access to many archival records, including those mentioned above. Researchers may request general information or specific records by contacting Archives Services in person, by phone, or e-mail.

Records Management Division helps to establish and administer efficient and effective records management programs within State and local governments and ensure records are being retained and dispositioned properly (destroyed or kept as archival) through Records Retention Schedules. The Division conducts training and creates publications to assist government agencies in meeting general records management requirements. Its State Records Center maintains approximately 120 million pages of official State records not currently needed in State offices and scheduled for ultimate destruction.

The State Archivist is nominated by the Secretary of State and is subject to confirmation by the Maine State Senate for a six-year term, per Maine law.  The State Archivist is the official custodian of the archival resources of the State and has, upon consent of the Secretary of State, the duties and powers established under Section 95-C governing the creation, use, maintenance, retention, preservation and disposal of agency records.  Only four people have held the position of State Archivist since the Legislature created the Maine State Archives in 1965: Sam S. Silsby Jr. (1966-1978), James S. Henderson (1987-2007), David R. Cheever (2007-2019) and Katherine McBrien (2021- ).  

Other Information About the Maine State Archives