In memoriam: Sid McAlpin, State Archivist from 1963-1994

In memoriam: Sid McAlpin, State Archivist from 1963-1994

Former State Archivist Sid McAlpin
Former State Archivist Sid McAlpin

It is with a heavy heart that we share the news of the passing of Sid McAlpin, State Archivist from 1963 to 1994. To those who worked in the Washington State Archives in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, Sid was not only a leader, but also a friend and mentor.

Sid’s work as State Archivist was significant and extensive. The following are only some of his many great accomplishments and contributions.

  • Moved the Records Committees from Destruction to Records Retention Schedules (circa 1968)
  • Developed first statewide records retention schedules for school districts and district & municipal courts (1973)
  • Developed Regional Archives System (1973–1992)
  • Sponsored the Bicentennial Oral History Project (1975–1979)
  • First chair of Washington State Historical Records Advisory Board (1977–1994)
  • Initiated negotiations that led to the legislation that moved the State Archives to the Office of the Secretary of State (1980–1981)
  • Helped establish and preserve History Day in Washington state (1982–1992)
  • Led the development of the original Journeys to the Past classroom documents package (1984)
  • Commissioned the Rhoades Report (1985) which established the plan and policy framework for the construction of purpose-built branch archives (1992–2004)
  • Actively advocated the passage of the Centennial recordings surcharge fee bill solidifying the State Archives’ longstanding role as a supporter and advocate for local government records management and preservation (1988)
  • Obtained the funding and oversaw construction of the high bay/barcoded State Records Center (1989–1991)
  • Oversaw the development of the first automated Washington State Archives Catalog (1989–1993)
  • Managed the effort to pass the tax-warrant surcharge revenue bill, which the secretary of state warned had no chance of being passed. While the tax warrant surcharge revenue is not as significant as county officials predicted it to be, the passage of the legislation led to the development and passage of the recordings fee bill (1996)

Sid’s incredible legacy permeates the work we all do every day and his impact will forever remain in not only our office but also the state. Our sincerest condolences go out to those who knew Sid.

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2 thoughts on “In memoriam: Sid McAlpin, State Archivist from 1963-1994

  1. To The Honorable Kim Wyman:

    Thank you for the kind words, pictures and list of Dad’s accomplishments and the legacy that he left. It meant so much to us.

    Sincerely,
    Victoria Cain
    Daughter of Sidney F. McAlpin, Jr.

  2. Sid McAlpin was a very good leader. His unique management style brought out the best in those who worked for him. He began with an underfunded and understaffed organization and and ended 30 years later with one of the best state archives in the United States. He was capable, honest and loyal. He believed in his mission and spent the best part of his life carrying it out.

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