Archivo General de la Nación

  • General Archives of the Nation

History

The General Archive of the Nation (AGN) is the repository of a documentary collection of incalculable value for the quantity and quality of the documents it has. This makes it one of the main archival repositories in Latin America. Its heritage is made up of written, photographic and audiovisual documents, covering a five-hundred-year time span. Within its collections, the public and private histories of those who preceded us coexist.

The AGN’s origins date back to the creation of the General Archive of the province of Buenos Aires in 1821. This archive was later nationalised after the federalisation of Buenos Aires. In 1957, the materials of the Archivo Gráfico de la Nación (Graphic Archive of the Nation/National Print Archive) were incorporated into the General Archive’s collections.

The AGN works under the Ministry of the Interior, Public Works and Housing and operates from Leandro N. Alem 246, which was the former headquarters of the National Mortgage Bank.

Mandates/Sources of Authority

The AGN’s role is to gather, organise and preserve the documentation entrusted to it by law in order to disseminate knowledge of Argentine history. For more information, see Law 15930

As stipulated in Article 2 of Law 15930, the AGN’s duties are:

a) To maintain and organize public documentation as well as geographic and audio heritage, which belongs to the State and which comprises the heritage of the Archive, or private documentation that is delivered for safekeeping, distributing these to the sections deemed most appropriate for their classification

b) To organise and classify, according to historical criteria, the aforementioned documentation and facilitate the consultation of its collections

c) To inventory, catalogue and disseminate the documents in its custody

d) To publish inventories and series of records to aid in the dissemination of documents of recognized value

e) To disseminate, by any other means, the knowledge of material held by the institution

f) To prepare an inventory of the documentary collections that refer to the history of the Republic

g) To obtain copies of documents kept in the official archives of the provinces or abroad, as soon as it is of interest for the study of national history; and provide, in turn, copies of the material that it conserves and collects

The AGN’s actions include:

  1. Tracking public documentation in general, its conservation and its allocation, in permanent contact with the organisms of the State

  2. Promoting systems and measures that allow the incorporation, selection, classification, ordering and description of the documentary collections, their conservation and custody, as well as their consultation and research

  3. Preparing projects on national regulations regarding archives, supervising compliance with current regulations and providing archival advice to other public bodies

  4. Disseminating the knowledge of the institution’s documentary heritage its activities. Likewise, providing historical-archival advice and promoting technical-professional training and exchange with other agencies throughout the country and abroad that are linked to archival work

  5. Promoting measures aimed at the location and potential incorporation of documentation pertaining to private persons or institutions

  6. Participating in national or international organisations, meetings or projects, within the framework of its competence

Archival and Other Holdings

The General Archive of the Nation is composed of several departments that are responsible for its various collections.

The Intermediate Archive Department (Departamento Archivo Intermedio) conserves documentation produced by the State, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Argentine Nation and corresponding laws, with the following organizational structure: the Central Administration (Presidency of the Nation; Chief of Cabinet of Ministers; Ministries of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Justice, Public Works, Labor and Social Security, Interior; Secretariat of Technical Affairs; Undersecretariats; National Directorates and General Directorates), the Administración Descentralizada (e.g., Navy of the Argentine Republic, National Accounts, and commissions, secretariats and institutions with specific and temporary purposes), and theAdministración Descentralizada (e.g., National Social Security Administration, Historical Archive of Military Justice, National Education Council, National Direction of Migration, General Inspection of Justice, National Board of Meat, National Board of Grains, Lands, Colonies and Immigration), State companies and corporations (e.g., National Development Bank, Empresa Líneas Marítimas Argentinas, Corporación Argentina de Productores de Carne, Corporación de Transporte de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Gas del Estado, Obras Sanitarias de la Nación, Servicios Eléctricos de Gran Buenos Aires, Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales).

The documentation held by the department dates from between 1862 and 2016. Moreover, it conserves the series Registro de apoderados of the Archive of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, as well as documentary collections of defunct private companies, such as Editorial Haynes, and of business associations, such as Centro Azucarero Argentino. Finally, it conserves the Eva Giberti and Juan Domingo Perón funds, as well as private donations.

The Library Department conserves approximately seventy thousand volumes of bibliographic material. Much of this material corresponds to the fonds of the General Archive of the Nation, and includes Ministerial Reports, the Official Registry and the Parliamentary Debates. It is permanently growing thanks to the entry by Legal Deposit of all the works that are published in the country, as established in Law 11.723 of Intellectual Property. In addition to the National Library and that of the Congress, it is the only Argentinean library to benefit from this acquisition system. Of the material received, only the topics related to History and Social Sciences are incorporated into its collections, so it is a highly specialized repository.

The library also holds specific bibliographic collections, such as Ernesto Celesia, José Pillado, José Biedma and Juan Domingo Perón, as well as bibliographic material from public companies.

The collection of the Cinema, Audio and Video Documents Department (Departamento de Documentos de Cine, Audio y Video) is made up of film archives covering historical and social events, film news, records and advertisements made by state organisations, as well as material for scientific dissemination, interviews, advertisements, political propaganda and amateur and/or domestic recordings of individuals. It is also made up of electronic documents of moving images on magnetic and digital media, including archives of national television, material from foreign news agencies and various funds of civil associations, government agencies, private producers and individuals. It also has the audio recrodings of official communiqués, radio programs, speeches, voices of personalities from the scientific, artistic and political world (conferences, interviews).

The collection dates from between 1900 and 2017. It has more than thirty thousand hours of audiovisual material.

The Written Documents Department (Departamento Documentos Escritos) preserves the public documentation produced both by the Hispanic bureaucracy between the sixteenth and nineteenth century, until 1810, and by the governments following the Revolution of May to 1870. In addition, it preserves documentation of private origin entered by purchase or donation.

The Photographic Documents Department (Departamento Documentos Fotográficos) conserves documentation from the National Executive Branch (Presidency of the Nation, ministries, public companies), private institutions (print media and civil associations), private fonds and collections. The documentation held by the department dates from between 1853 and 1986. The collection, which is made up of more than eight hundred thousand images, is drawn from different fonds such as: Caras y Caretas, Noticias Gráficas, Alerta, Tiempo Argentino, Secretaría de Información y Prensa, Crítica, and what was produced by the Archivo Gráfico de la Nación (Graphic Archive of the Nation/National Print Archive) from 1939 until 1955.

The documents of the Photographic Documents Department are organized by themes and names. In order to carry out a thematic search, documentation is accessed by an index that is divided into categories and subcategories. This index refers to the files where users can retrieve the necessary information to view the documents. In case of searches by name, users can directly access the files organized alphabetically by last name and name of the person on which the search is based.

Opening Times

Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm

Conditions of Access

Access and consultation is free. The only requirement is that visitors show a valid document which proves that they are over 18 years old.

In some areas, only indispensable work materials are permitted. For this reason, depending on the sector to which they are directed, visitors must leave their belongings (purse, wallet, backpack, camera, etc.) in one of the lockers provided at the entrance.

Sources

  • ClaimsCon'06