RTG Richard Griffiths' Collection

Documents from [1945] to [1972]

Identity Statement

Reference Code
RTG
Extent and Medium

215 files

Fonds Inventory
Reference Archivists

Mary, Carr

Context

Administrative and Biographical History

In 1980 Richard Griffiths became Professor of Economic and Social History at the Free University, Amsterdam, where he started using their rich archival resources to explore Dutch post-war history. This was a period when historical archives were released thirty years after the events (if at all). So, in the 1980's, the archives allowed historians to start rediscovering the 1950’s; the formative years of European integration.

Custodial History

In the early 1980's, Dutch historians were starting to explore the archives to deepen their understanding of postwar developments. Not only was The Netherlands generous in the release of papers under the ’30-year-rule’, but it also granted access to Dutch records which were only 20 years from their date of creation. Researchers could probe deeper and further than historians elsewhere. Many archives were opening to historians for the first time so by allowing them pretty free access to photo-copy facilities meant researchers could work more efficiently and it allowed them to get out of their way more quickly. At this time the Dutch government had started sending their post-war archives in batches to Windcschoten (Northern Netherlands) for cleaning – getting rid of duplicate sets and clearing out the clutter in individual dossiers. In fact the exercise was far more brutal – the early post-war archives from Foreign Affairs on the Marshall Plan, which had contained a set of all the briefing and policy papers came back with only the flimsy bits and pieces of its own contribution. Archivists were as appalled as historians about what was happening… and later the operation was improved. However, since it saved photocopying, and since duplicates were going to disappear anyway, academics like Griffiths were often allowed to take the extra copies. Most of that part of his collection was assembled in the years 1982-1995.
In 2004 Prof. Griffiths' friend and colleague Coby van der Linde took Griffiths to a dark and dusty storage room in the Law department of Leuven and showed him a set of files that the faculty was going to jettison. They were on Europe and Griffiths was obviously very interested. Professor Tim Maas had advised the Dutch government on its European policy and what was on offer was a complete series of all the official papers on the European Political Community, Euratom, the European Economic Community and Interim Committee established before the EEC started functioning. These official documents are necessary, but limited. They tell little about the forces leading to their adoption or rejection. However, when linked to ‘politicized’ delegation reports, they are a powerful tool for analysis and the Dutch delegation report was particular useful. That combination remains in this archive collection.

Content and Structure

System of Arrangement

The order in which the documents arrived at the HAEU was respected.

Conditions of Access and Use

Languages

Dutch, English, French

Materials

Paper file

Allied Materials

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