In November 2002 the Harris County Commissioners Court created the first county archives as a component of a Records Management Program in Texas. By the end of the month an archivist was hired with a second archivist hired in February 2005. The archives officially opened to researchers in April 2005 with a Reception and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony hosted by Harris County Judge Robert Eckels. Pictured: Ray Miller, Pct. 3; Paul Scott, Harris County Records Manager; Robert A. Eckles, Harris County Judge; Charles Bacarisse, District Clerk; Sarah Canby Jackson, Harris County Archivist; J. E. "Mac" McCain, Pct. 1.
Although currently under the administration of the County Clerk, the Harris County Archives is integral for the functioning of the County Records Management Plan. Records created during the business or operation of the county with permanent or historical value are transferred to the archives at the end of their life cycle. The archives also accepts private records that complement the repository's holdings.
The holdings of the archives include approximately 6400 bound volumes, 4000 cubic feet of processed and unprocessed records, 637 bound volumes of the Houston Post, and over 14,000 rolls of microfilm including departmental records and the Houston Chronicle and Houston Post newspapers (1976 – 2001). Additionally, the archives has oral histories, over 600 volumes of scrapbooks and maps, photographs, video and film. The Harris County Archives is capable of providing digital copies of the majority of the records in its collection. Large scale digital projects have been undertaken within the past year to make Harris County Archives records available online.
By providing professional archival services to the government and people of Harris County, the Harris County Archives furnishes access to previously unavailable records. Since April of 2004 through 2016, the staff has provided over 9800 hours of reference service to both county government departments and researchers by answering 3727 queries, paging 10,563 records, and accommodating 1306 research visits to the reference room.
The work of establishing an archives from nothing but shell space and 22 pallets of tax records could not have been accomplished without the 11,203 hours donated to the archives 2012 - 2016 by auxiliary personnel including community service workers, interns, and volunteers. If interested in volunteering please contact the Harris County Archives.