Historical Manuscripts as Archives: Some Definitions and Their Application

HISTORICAL manuscripts are regarded primarily if not exclusively as materials for research, whatever their origin or provenance. That august word provenance as the hallmark of archives has given archival records a superior status in the minds of some historians as well as archivists. It is agreed, at least among archivists, that archives are something more than raw materials for the scholar's use; indeed, such a gross understatement of their function would be seriously challenged. Whatever one's point of view, attempts to distinguish one class of records from another raise the question: What is the relation between historical manuscripts and archives ? Is the one only the needy next-of-kin of the other?