Archival History – Middle Ages


  • Caitlin Lindsay University of British Columbia



history, archivists,


This annotated bibliography examines sources which give insight into the history of archives and recordkeeping during the Middle Ages. Because the history of archives is Eurocentric, this bibliography attempts to include archival perspectives outside of Europe, and aims to examine a number of different archival repositories. The bibliography touches on ecclesiastical archives, civic archives, university archives and private archives. Within the sources, themes of power and the importance of social memory are investigated, and organizational change within a variety of different archives is examined.

Author Biography

Caitlin Lindsay, University of British Columbia

Caitlin Lindsay is a second-year student completing her Master's degree (a Dual Masters of Library and Information Studies and a Masters of Archival Studies) at UBC. She is interested in social justice in archives and libraries, accessibility of information, and digitization.


Brown, W. (2002). When documents are destroyed or lost: lay people and archives in the early Middle Ages. Early Medieval Europe 11(4), pp. 337-366.

Clanchy, M. T. (2013). "The Preservation and Use of Documents." (Third ed.), From Memory to Written Record: England 1066-1307. (pp. 147-79). West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell.

Clanchy, M.T. (Winter 1980/81). “’Tenacious Letters’: Archives and Memory in the Middle Ages." Archivaria 11, pp. 115-125.

Douglas, J. (2009). “’Kepe wysly youre wrytyngys’: Margaret Paston’s Fifteenth-Century Letters.” Libraries & The Cultural Records 44(1), pp 29-49.

Duchein, M. (Winter 1992). “The History of European Archives and the Development of the Archival Profession in Europe.” American Archivist 55, pp. 14-25.

Duranti, L. (Fall 1994). “Medieval Universities and Archives.” Archivaria 38, pp. 37-44.

Head, R. (2016). “Configuring European Archives: Spaces, Materials and Practices in the Differentiation of Repositories from the Late Middle Ages to 1700”. European History Quarterly 46(3), pp. 498–518.

Ketelaar, E. (September 2010). “Records out and archives in: early modern cities as creators of records and as communities of archives.” Archival Science 10(3), pp. 201-210.

Lee, K. R. (2010). “The Role of Buddhist Monks in the Development of Archives in the Korean Middle Ages.” The American Archivist 73, pp. 61-81.

McCrank, L. J. (1993). “Documenting Reconquest and Reform: The Growth of Archives in the Medieval Crown of Aragon.” The American Archivist 56, pp. 256-318.

Posner, E. (1972). “Archives in Medieval Islam.” The American Archivist 35, pp. 291-316.

Sherwood, J. (2012). “The Inquisitor as Archivist, or Surprise, Fear, and Ruthless Efficiency in the Archives.” The American Archivist 75, pp. 56-80.

Teuscher, S. (September 2010). “Document collections, mobilized regulations, and the making of customary law at the end of the Middle Ages.” Archival Science 10(3), pp. 211-229.






Annotated Bibliography