Archives and history: Towards a history of ‘the use of state archives’ in the 19th century
Müller, Philipp Huistra, Pieter ; Paul, Herman ; Tollebeek, Jo (Eds.)
Zitierfähiger Link (URL): http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/13007
This article probes the relationship between archives and history by examining the archive policy on historical research in the first modern administration state of the German lands, the kingdom of Bavaria. Given the continuing tradition of the theory and practice of the arcana imperii in the 19th century, state archives served first and foremost the state. As a result, researchers’ interest in archival material was to undergo an administrative vetting procedure, in order to safeguard the interests of the state. By examining comparatively the cases of two petitioners supplicating for the historical use of state archives in Munich, the article showcases the policy of secrecy and the resultant administrative threshold separating the sphere of the arcana from the public. Caution guided the archive politics of state officials and, ultimately, their more or less explicit notions and concerns decided which material was finally to be released, in order to become a ‘source’ for historical study. Historical researchers such as the writer Ales- sandro Volpi and the historian August Kluckhohn were thus required to meet specific criteria and to overcome political hurdles, in order to gain access to the desired clues guarded by the state. As a result of this, the opportunity to inspect archival material was very much dependent on the political communication between petitioner and govern- ment, and its result, the granting or denial of access, was not without ramifications for historical research and the epistemic status of historical knowledge.