The Pennsylvania House of Representatives Archives collects, preserves and provides access to the permanently valuable historical records created by its Representatives, Committees, Offices and staff in order to promote a better understanding of the history of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and its impact on Pennsylvania's citizens today.
The creation of the Bi-partisan Management Committee by Act 104 of 1979, directed the House of Representatives to establish a more systematic method of record keeping. The House Archives was initially established as a Records Center to collect committee records, fiscal records and personnel records. The Bi-partisan Management Committee was directed to: maintain and preserve the books, memoranda, reports and records of each standing and special committee having permanent research value; to establish and maintain a library; and develop uniform policies and procedures for the preservation and/or destruction of papers, documents and other writings of records.
The bulk of the House Archives collections are its Committee Records. House Rule 45 changed slightly in 1979 requiring that records, bills, and other papers in the possession of the Committees and Sub-committees, upon final adjournment of the House shall be filed with the Chief Clerk. The House Archives has been maintaining a complete collection of Committee records since 1979.
Other records that were deemed to have permanent research value include records from offices under the Chief Clerk, the Parliamentarian's Office, and the Speaker's Office.
The House Archives also administers the Oral History Project where staff conducts interviews with former Representatives to capture their personal experiences of serving in the House of Representatives. Numerous interviews have been completed and each one is as unique as the individuals and the district that they served.
Representatives and staff are additionally encouraged to donate their personal papers and memorabilia. These collections, along with the Oral History interviews, compliment the official records of the House of Representatives, as they often contain information regarding the legislation and interests that Members and staff were involved in during their tenure.
The House library also collects official books published by the House of Representatives, such as the House Journals, House Histories and legislative directories. It also collects books written about the history of the state, about the House of Representatives, and books authored by or written about its Representatives.
Through these many resources, the staff at the House Archives is able to answer numerous historical research questions about the Institution, its Members and legislation.