Archives of Towns and Communities (Stadt- und Gemeindearchive)
It is the towns 'and communities' own responsibilities to hold and preserve their records. In section 7 the State Archives Act (Landesarchivgesetz) regulates the work and obligations of municipal archives (Stadtarchive) and local archives (Gemeindearchive). The towns'and communities'own regulations are based on the above mentioned law.
Often their record groups date back to the Middle Ages and are a mirror of a many faceted town culture influenced by many old towns, Reichsstädte (towns of the Empire), famous university towns, and prosperous industrial towns.
Apart from the large territories Baden, Württemberg, Palatinate and Austria there were -before the 19th century - more than 300 small secular and ecclesiastical territories, which turned the Southwest of Germany into a political patchwork. These facts are responsible for a wide range of traditions and cultures in the various communities.
Charters, town chronicles and registers (Ratsprotokolle, Stadtchroniken, Lagerbücher, Rechnungen), are the records of the Middle Ages, whereas modern times have a wide range of administration files. To these official current records photos, press clips, tapes, posters and printed documentations of the history of the towns and regions. are added. In many cases the history of companies and the history of organisations are documented and the wills of prominent persons are held. Originally the archives of towns and communities were institutions for practical administration purposes. Their main task was to document the communities'and citizens' entitlements and properties. Today they are modern institutions of the service sector for administration, research and the citzens as well. With their publications, lectures, exhibitions and multimedia presentations they play an active part in the field of education and culture.
Normally the archives of towns with more than 25.000 inhabitants have a trained, full-time archivist, but also smaller communities have recognized the importance of an active archive.
- Archive der Städte und Gemeinden in Baden-Württemberg : Angebot und Aufgaben, hrsg. von der Arbeitsgemeinschaft Hauptamtlicher Archivare innerhalb des Städtetags Baden-Württemberg, Radolfzell 1979
- Acht Jahrhunderte Stadtgeschichte : Vergangenheit und Gegenwart im Spiegel der Kommunalarchive in B-W., hrsg. v. Walter Bernhardt, Sigmaringen 1981
The"Arbeitsgemeinschaft Archive im Städtetag Baden-Württemberg" is the centre where archivists exchange their experience on a regular basis.